Special to The Leader
The Orange Leader
The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) will begin collecting personal importation taxes on alcohol and cigarettes from passengers returning from cruises in Galveston in 2014.
On January 4, 2014, cruise travelers disembarking out of the Port of Galveston will need to pay the tax for alcoholic beverages and cigarettes imported into the state that were purchased either on the ship’s duty free store or at a foreign port of call. TABC currently operates 20 ports of entry collection facilities along the Texas-Mexico border where the tax is presently collected. During the recent legislative session, the agency was appropriated funding to begin tax collection of imported alcoholic beverages and cigarettes from seaport facilities. The Galveston Port facility will be the first seaport location where this tax will be collected with plans to extend to the Houston-Bayport facility in the fall of 2014.
Section 107.07 of the Alcoholic Beverage Code, in effect for over 40 years, requires that each adult (21 years old and over) importing alcoholic beverages into the state for personal consumption pay the state tax and an administrative fee of $3.00. The law limits personal importation by an adult to once every 30 days with limits of: 1 gallon of distilled spirits, 3 gallons of wine, and 288 ounces of malt beverages (24 12-ounce containers). Persons importing alcoholic beverages must personally accompany the product as it enters the state. For a detailed list of the taxes for both cigarettes and alcoholic beverages go to http://www.tabc.state.tx.us/poe/tax_rates.asp.
Tax collection points staffed with TABC personnel will be situated at both terminals 1 and 2 at the Galveston facility located where patrons come through the U.S. Customs secondary checkpoint. Passengers will be able to pay the taxes with either cash or credit cards.
TABC personnel have worked with Port of Galveston officials to ensure that the tax collection is done efficiently and with limited disruption of port operations and delays to the passengers.