Texas liquor import fee to increase in September

A recenlty-approved Texas law is set to raise the cost of bringing alcohol into the United States from Mexico.

Residents from both sides of the border had something to say about this bill that will go into effect September 1st.

Many border residents and visitors are interested in saving a buck, which is why duty free shops across the border are so popular.

"It's less expensive to buy things here in Hidalgo than there in Mexico," said Benjamin Valera who buys whiskey in duty free shops.

Valera is from Reynosa and he comes frequently to these stores to shop.

He takes those bottles to his home in Reynosa, ut there are also those who bring those bottles back in the U.S. to claim it duty free or choose to buy alcohol in Mexico and bring it across.

"Young people like to buy alcohol in Mexico," said Maria Rodriguez.

But a recently-signed bill will make alcohol more expensive to bring into the United States.

According to House Bill 1936, those who import alcoholic beverages need to pay the state tax on the beverage and a $3 dollar administrative fee.

Right now, the administrative fee is only 50 cents.

The office of Senator Eddie Lucio, Jr. who sponsored the bill, said the fee will go to the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission to regulate alcohol entering the United States.

"That's good-those who bring in the alcohol won't like it because it's costing more to bring it in, but it's a good thing," said Edith Dutaro.

The new law also regulates how many bottles of beer people can bring in per month and how many gallons of wine or distilled spirits are allowed to be imported for personal use.

As of now, there are different regulations for Texas residents and non-Texas residents.

The bill makes it uniform.

"This law is just going to make people hide the alcohol and not declare it at the port of entry," said Benjamin.

But refusing to declare the alcohol could cost you up to a thousand dollars and your vehicle could be seized.

Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission Summary of House Bill 1936:

  • Increases the administrative fee on alcoholic beverages from 50 cents to $3 per container
  • Equalizes the importation limits between Texas residents and non-residents
  • Increasing the importation limit for Texans from one quart to a gallon of distilled spirits every 30 days
  • Allows for the importation of a personal collection of beer and/or distilled spirits by persons moving to Texas
  • No taxes would be owed to the state and no licensing or paperwork required by TABC
  • Current law already allows the importation of a wine collection

Source: TABC Website