Published On: Sat, Nov 19th, 2016

Gov’t eyes unified tax rate on all beer-like products

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TOKYO — The Japanese government and ruling parties plan to propose unifying the tax rates on beer and beer-like drinks under fiscal 2017 tax reforms.

Under the current system, taxes on beer and beer-like drinks vary based on how much malt a beverage includes. The tax rate on beer is 77 yen per 350 milliliter can, 47 yen on a similar size can of “happoshu” low-malt beer, and only 28 yen on a can of “third-category beer.”

The government plans to cut the tax rate on beer while raising the rates on the two categories of beer-like drinks. The plan is to gradually move to a unified tax rate of around 55 yen, which could undermine the market for beer-like drinks.

To limit the adverse impact on manufacturers, the changes would start in fiscal 2018 at the earliest and be fully implemented over five to 10 years, sources said.

“We will draw a conclusion this year on the future schedule to (unify the tax rates) in stages and state (it) in the tax law,” the LDP’s tax commission chief Yoichi Miyazawa said in an interview with Kyodo News and other media.

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