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Opioid Excise Tax

Health Care Providers

Article 20-D of the New York State Tax Law, enacted in April of 2019, imposes an excise tax on the first sale of every opioid unit in New York State. The tax imposed by the law is paid by the “registrant” (i.e., manufacturer, wholesaler, or outsourcing facility) making the first sale (Tax Law § 498[a]). The law explicitly excludes from the definition of sale the dispensing of opioids pursuant to a prescription to an ultimate consumer (Tax Law § 497[h]). In Workers’ Compensation cases, an injured worker who receives opioid prescription medications is the ultimate consumer. As such, an injured worker receiving opioid prescription medications should never be presented a bill for the excise tax. Injured workers should not pay the opioid excise tax, and any workers who are told to do so should contact the Workers’ Compensation Board immediately.

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