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Tax Rates and Revenues, Sales and Use Taxes

General Rate

All tangible personal property and certain selected services sold or rented to businesses or individuals at retail in the District.

Groceries, prescription and non-prescription drugs, and residential utility services are among those items exempt from the sales tax.

The use tax is imposed at the same rate as the sales tax on purchases made outside the District and then brought into the District to be used, stored or consumed, providing that the purchaser has not paid the sales tax on the purchases to another jurisdiction.

DC Code Citation: Title 47, Chapters 20 and 22.

Current Tax Rate(s)

A five-tier rate structure is presently in effect:

  • 5.75% - General rate for tangible personal property and selected services
  • 10% - Liquor sold for off-the-premises consumption
  • 10% - Restaurant meals, liquor for consumption on the premises, and rental vehicles
  • 18% - Parking motor vehicles in commercial lots
  • 14.8% - Hotels (transient accommodations)

Alcoholic Beverage Tax

Alcoholic beverages manufactured by a holder of a manufacturer’s license and beverages brought into DC by the holder of a wholesaler’s license.

DC Code Citation: Title 25, Chapter 1.

Current Tax Rate(s)

  • Beer = $2.79 per barrel
  • Champagne/sparkling wine = $0.45 per gallon
  • Distilled Spirits = $1.50 per gallon
  • Light wine (alcohol content 14% or less) = $0.30 per gallon
  • Heavy wine (alcohol content above 14%) = $0.40 per gallon


The sale or possession of cigarettes in the District. Cigarettes sold to the military and to the federal government are exempt.

DC Code Citation: Title 47, Chapter 24.

Current Tax Rate(s)

  • $2.50 per pack of 20 cigarettes; plus a surtax of $0.44 per pack for a total of $2.94 per pack.