State of California Board of Equalization Information and Advisory Unit Telephone 916-324-2883 • FAX 916-322


E-Mail Response


: Mr. T J Roberts : Juliet Nantege Senior Tax Auditor, MIC: 44 : F11-04-108 - 0502 - 0518 : Distilled Water


: May 23, 2011




Thank you for your recent e-mail requesting our advice regarding the proper application of the California Sales & Use Tax Law. The answer given is intended to provide general information regarding the application of the tax and will not serve as a basis for relief of liability under Revenue and Taxation Code section 6596. For your general information, the Revenue and Taxation Code provides that sales tax is imposed on the gross receipts from the retail sales of tangible personal property in this state. The sales tax is imposed upon the retailer for the privilege of selling tangible personal property at retail in California. The use tax is complementary (and mutually exclusive) to the sales tax and is imposed upon the storage, use, or other consumption in this state of tangible personal property, not subject to the sales tax. The obligation to pay the use tax is on the consumer. Your electronic inquiry requests a copy of a quote you found on a website regarding CRV on distilled water and the application of tax. Per our telephone conversation on Wednesday May 18, 2011, you indicated that Albertson was charging CRV and tax on distilled water and you wanted to know if distilled water was subject to tax. We discussed annotation 245.0370 which you requested to have in writing. During our conversation, we discussed the fact that the quote you refer to in your inquiry comes from a response to a previous inquiry sent by a taxpayer and was only intended for that specific inquiry. Annotation 245.0370 , “Distilled Water,” states that “when the label on a bottle of distilled water does not include a reference to intended use or indicates the water is only for non-food purposes, the distilled water should not be regarded as sold for human consumption and its sale is thus subject to tax. When the label indicates that the distilled water is for drinking only or includes references to both; food and non-food uses, the sale of that bottle of distilled water qualifies for exemption from tax under section 6359”.

Mr. T J Roberts

-2- May 23, 2011

Annotations are summaries of the conclusions reached by staff counsel as applied to specific factual situations. They are a research tool and intended to provide guidance regarding the interpretation of Board statutes and regulations. Annotations are not regulations of the Board and do not have the force or effect of law. In any instance where there is an inconsistency between the statutory law and an annotation, statutory law is controlling. The backup letter to the above annotation can be obtained by following this link. To assist with sales & use tax return filing, the Board of Equalization offers a free, web-based, electronic filing service. It is easy to use and will provide an online record of all of your returns. To learn more and to register for BOE-file, please visit our Sales and Use Tax E-File Information Center. I hope this information is helpful. If you have any further questions regarding this or any other issue, please write or call our Taxpayer Information Section at (800) 400-7115. You may also visit our website at Copy - Incoming E-mail
From: [mailto:] Sent: Tuesday, April 12, 2011 1:01 PM To: EAD-CSPD Web Requests Subject: Public Query Title: Mr First Name: T Middle Initial: J Last Name: Roberts Email Address: Mailing Address: City: Los Angeles Zip/Postal Code: 90078-3982 State: CA County/Province: L.A. Country: USA Phone Number: 213 368 4850 Account Number: n/a Comments: The following statement was found at: ...the Board of Equalization has issued a letter stating, 'the California Beverage Container Recycling and Litter Reduction Act, was created to achieve and maintain high recycling rates for the recyclable aluminum, glass and plastic beverage containers Californians use everyday. Therefore, if the CRV labeling is on the distilled water container, the assumption would be that the distilled water is for human consumption. As such, the sales of the distilled water and the related CRV fees would be exempt from tax.' I would like know where this quote comes from, and how to get a copy of it's source, on-line if possible. Thank you, T J Roberts


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