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Tax collectors raise a glass of green beer to St. Patrick

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Almost 40 million Americans (including me!) claim Irish heritage. That's almost seven times Ireland's population.

And more of us enjoy any reason to party. That makes St. Paddy's Day a big one for businesses that cater to our festive natures.

St Patricks Day big biz infographic preview

Internet statistics company Statista says (and illustrates in its infographic) that March 17 has become increasingly more popular in the United States.

Last year, 56 percent of us celebrated parades, parties and pints. That figure was just 44 percent back in 2009.

Translated to dollars, Americans collectively spend $4.7 billion on St. Patrick's Day every year, approximately $35.27 per person.

A big part of our out-of-pocket St. Patrick's Day expenditure goes toward the ubiquitous green beer.

And not only do all the country's Irish-for-a-day pubs thank you, so do tax collectors.

Excise and other taxes are added to the cost of our mugs of brew.

Brewing up taxes, too: In fact, says the Beer Institute, taxes are the single most expensive ingredient in beer, costing more than the labor and raw materials combined.

One study cited by the brewing trade group found that if all the taxes levied on the production, distribution and retailing of beer are added up, they amount to more than 40 percent of the retail price.

The tax treatment of beer varies widely across the United States, notes the Tax Foundation, ranging from a low of 2 cents per gallon in Wyoming to a high of $1.17 per gallon in Tennessee.

The Volunteer State's top U.S. beer tax amount also earns it on this traditional beer-drinking day the By the Numbers honor for this week.


The various state tax rates, notes the Tax Foundation, can include fixed-rate per volume taxes; wholesale taxes that are usually a percentage of the value of the product; distributor taxes that usually are structured as license fees, but are usually a percentage of revenues; retail taxes, in which retailers owe an extra percentage of revenues; case or bottle fees, which can vary based on size of container; and additional sales taxes, which are in addition to the state's general sales tax rate.

Those are enough tax calculations to make your head spin even before you take your first sip of beer!

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