Fact Check: Is there a New York State tax on paint purchases?

Is there a New York State tax on paint purchases?

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. — With summertime here, you might be thinking about those home improvement projects. Maybe you have plans to paint your home. But recently, a viewer, as well as a local New York State Senate candidate, raised questions about a fee being added to your bill when you buy a gallon of paint.

It seems everywhere we turn, we’re paying a fee for something — baggage fees, delivery fees, administrative fees — taking money out of your pocket. But, a recent post by a local political candidate raised questions about a fee at your local hardware store.

“I literally came here to buy one gallon of paint. The paint cost me $48. My sales tax came out to $3.91. And then there’s an additional New York State tax on a gallon of paint — at $.95 per gallon,” said Jim VanBrederode, candidate for state Senate.

News10NBC’s Brett Davidsen looked into his claim about a state tax on paint. Here’s what he found:

What he’s referring to is the New York Paint Stewardship Program, and it’s not new. It went into effect in 2022. The state law requires sellers of architectural paint to charge a fee to cover the cost of safely disposing of leftover paint. The program is run by the organization PaintCare. Andrew Radin is the New York program manager.

“It’s not a tax. The fee does not go to New York State government. It goes to the not for profit entity PaintCare to run the entire program,” Radin said.

Brett found the fee break down on page 44 of the program outline. For containers of a half pint up to a gallon — it’s 45 cents. For one to two gallons, it’s 95 cents — as VanBrederode noted in his video. And for larger containers of two to five gallons, it’s $1.95.

“That fee pays for all the program costs to recover the paint, transport it and process it into new paint,” Radin explained. There are more than 330 drop off sites across the state. Radin says 1.5 million gallons of paint have been recovered in New York since the program started.

“From an environmental standpoint, we want to keep as much wasted material out of the trash as possible. But also, we want to close the loop on paint. We want to recycle as much as possible so it can be reused,” said Radin.

An honorable goal, but one that comes with a cost. So, while it’s not technically a “tax” as VanBrederode claimed, you are being charged a little extra for that paint. That is a fact.

New York is one of 13 states and the District of Columbia that have adopted the paint recycling program. Fees in those other states range from Vermont’s $1.35 to California’s 65 cents. There are 17 drop off locations in Monroe County.

Click here for a list of locations if you’re looking to recycle your old paint.