26 U.S.C.
United States Code, 2010 Edition
Subtitle E - Alcohol, Tobacco, and Certain Other Excise Taxes
Subchapter A - Gallonage and Occupational Taxes
Subpart D - Beer
Sec. 5051 - Imposition and rate of tax
From the U.S. Government Publishing Office, www.gpo.gov

§5051. Imposition and rate of tax

(a) Rate of tax

(1) In general

A tax is hereby imposed on all beer brewed or produced, and removed for consumption or sale, within the United States, or imported into the United States. Except as provided in paragraph (2), the rate of such tax shall be $18 for every barrel containing not more than 31 gallons and at a like rate for any other quantity or for fractional parts of a barrel.

(2) Reduced rate for certain domestic production

(A) $7 a barrel rate

In the case of a brewer who produces not more than 2,000,000 barrels of beer during the calendar year, the per barrel rate of the tax imposed by this section shall be $7 on the first 60,000 barrels of beer which are removed in such year for consumption or sale and which have been brewed or produced by such brewer at qualified breweries in the United States.

(B) Controlled groups

In the case of a controlled group, the 2,000,000 barrel quantity specified in subparagraph (A) shall be applied to the controlled group, and the 60,000 barrel quantity specified in subparagraph (A) shall be apportioned among the brewers who are component members of such group in such manner as the Secretary or his delegate shall by regulations prescribed. For purposes of the preceding sentence, the term “controlled group” has the meaning assigned to it by subsection (a) of section 1563, except that for such purposes the phrase “more than 50 percent” shall be substituted for the phrase “at least 80 percent” in each place it appears in such subsection. Under regulations prescribed by the Secretary or his delegate, principles similar to the principles of the preceding two sentences shall be applied to a group of brewers under common control where one or more of the brewers is not a corporation.

(C) Regulations

The Secretary may prescribe such regulations as may be necessary to prevent the reduced rates provided in this paragraph from benefiting any person who produces more than 2,000,000 barrels of beer during a calendar year.

(3) Tolerances

Where the Secretary or his delegate finds that the revenue will not be endangered thereby, he may by regulations prescribe tolerances for barrels and fractional parts of barrels, and, if such tolerances are prescribed, no assessment shall be made and no tax shall be collected for any excess in any case where the contents of a barrel or a fractional part of a barrel are within the limit of the applicable tolerance prescribed.

(b) Assessment on materials used in production in case of fraud

Nothing contained in this subpart or subchapter G shall be construed to authorize an assessment on the quantity of materials used in producing or purchased for the purpose of producing beer, nor shall the quantity of materials so used or purchased be evidence, for the purpose of taxation, of the quantity of beer produced; but the tax on all beer shall be paid as provided in section 5054, and not otherwise; except that this subsection shall not apply to cases of fraud, and nothing in this subsection shall have the effect to change the rules of law respecting evidence in any prosecution or suit.

(c) Illegally produced beer

The production of any beer at any place in the United States shall be subject to tax at the rate prescribed in subsection (a) and such tax shall be due and payable as provided in section 5054(a)(3) unless—

(1) such beer is produced in a brewery qualified under the provisions of subchapter G, or

(2) such production is exempt from tax under section 5053(e) (relating to beer for personal or family use).

(Added Pub. L. 85–859, title II, §201, Sept. 2, 1958, 72 Stat. 1333; amended Pub. L. 86–75, §3(a)(6), June 30, 1959, 73 Stat. 157; Pub. L. 86–564, title II, §202(a)(8), June 30, 1960, 74 Stat. 290; Pub. L. 87–72, §3(a)(8), June 30, 1961, 75 Stat. 193; Pub. L. 87–508, §3(a)(7), June 28, 1962, 76 Stat. 114; Pub. L. 88–52, §3(a)(8), June 29, 1963, 77 Stat. 72; Pub. L. 88–348, §2(a)(8), June 30, 1964, 78 Stat. 237; Pub. L. 89–44, title V, §501(d), June 21, 1965, 79 Stat. 150; Pub. L. 94–529, §1, Oct. 17, 1976, 90 Stat. 2485; Pub. L. 95–458, §2(b)(2)(A), Oct. 14, 1978, 92 Stat. 1256; Pub. L. 101–508, title XI, §11201(c), Nov. 5, 1990, 104 Stat. 1388–416.)

Prior Provisions

A prior section 5051, act Aug. 16, 1954, ch. 736, 68A Stat. 611, as amended by acts Mar. 30, 1955, ch. 18, §3(a)(8), 69 Stat. 14; Mar. 29, 1956, ch. 115, §3(a)(8), 70 Stat. 66; Mar. 29, 1957, Pub. L. 85–12, §3(a)(6), 71 Stat. 9; June 30, 1958, Pub. L. 85–475, §3(a)(6), 72 Stat. 259, consisted of provisions similar to those comprising this section, prior to the general revision of this chapter by Pub. L. 85–859.


1990—Subsec. (a)(1). Pub. L. 101–508, §11201(c)(1), substituted “$18” for “$9”.

Subsec. (a)(2)(C). Pub. L. 101–508, §11201(c)(2), added subpar. (C).

1978—Subsec. (c). Pub. L. 95–458 added subsec. (c).

1976—Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 94–529 reduced the excise tax on beer for small brewers to $7 per barrel on the first 60,000 barrels produced in the United States and removed for sale or consumption or sale during the calendar year, the reduced rate to be applicable only to brewers producing no more than 2 million barrels of beer in a calendar year, and inserted provision that if several brewers are members of a controlled group, the 2–million barrel limit is to be applied to the controlled group and the 60,000–barrel limit is to be apportioned among the members of the controlled group in accordance with Treasury Department regulations promulgated by the Secretary or his delegate.

1965—Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 89–44 struck out sentence providing for the imposition on and after July 1, 1965, of a tax of $8 in lieu of the tax imposed by the section.

1964—Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 88–348 substituted “July 1, 1965” for “July 1, 1964”.

1963—Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 88–52 substituted “July 1, 1964” for “July 1, 1963”.

1962—Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 87–508 substituted “July 1, 1963” for “July 1, 1962”.

1961—Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 87–72 substituted “July 1, 1962” for “July 1, 1961”.

1960—Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 86–564 substituted “July 1, 1961” for “July 1, 1960”.

1959—Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 86–75 substituted “July 1, 1960” for “July 1, 1959”.

Effective Date of 1990 Amendment

Amendment by Pub. L. 101–508 effective Jan. 1, 1991, see section 11201(d) of Pub. L. 101–508, set out as a note under section 5001 of this title.

Effective Date of 1978 Amendment

Amendment by Pub. L. 95–458 effective on first day of first calendar month beginning more than 90 days after Oct. 14, 1978, see section 2(c) of Pub. L. 95–458, set out as a note under section 5042 of this title.

Effective Date of 1976 Amendment

Section 2 of Pub. L. 94–529 provided that: “The amendment made by the first section of this Act [amending this section] shall take effect on the first day of the first calendar year which begins after the date of the enactment of this Act [Oct. 17, 1976].”

Effective Date of 1965 Amendment

Amendment by Pub. L. 89–44 applicable on and after July 1, 1965, see section 701(d) of Pub. L. 89–44, set out as a note under section 5701 of this title.

Effective Date

Section effective July 1, 1959, see section 210(a)(1) of Pub. L. 85–859, set out as a note under section 5001 of this title.

Floor Stocks Taxes on Distilled Spirits, Wine, and Beer

Imposition of tax on beer, exception for small domestic producers, exception for certain small wholesale or retail dealers, credit against tax, liability for tax and method of payment, controlled groups, other laws applicable, and definitions, see section 11201(e) of Pub. L. 101–508, set out as a note under section 5001 of this title.