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New York State Paint Tax: A Comprehensive Examination


In recent times, there has been widespread discussion regarding a purported new tax on paint purchases within the state of New York. To clarify and provide an in-depth understanding of this matter, let us delve into the specifics of this alleged tax, examining its provisions, implications, and relevant factual information.

The Alleged Tax: What is it?

Contrary to popular belief, there is currently no statewide tax in New York that specifically targets paint purchases. This fact has been confirmed by both the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance and the PaintCare program, an industry-led initiative dedicated to managing paint waste.

Origins of the Misinformation

The confusion surrounding the existence of a paint tax in New York can be attributed to a misunderstanding of the Paint Stewardship Act, which was enacted in 2010. This legislation established a recycling program for paint and other paint-related materials, and it mandated a fee to cover the costs of this program.

PaintCare Fee: Not a Tax

The PaintCare fee is not a tax in the traditional sense. It is a user fee that is charged to manufacturers and retailers of paint. The purpose of this fee is to cover the expenses associated with the PaintCare program, which include collecting, recycling, and disposing of leftover paint.

Impact on Consumers

The PaintCare fee is typically passed on to consumers in the form of a small surcharge on paint purchases. The amount of the surcharge varies depending on the size and type of paint purchased. On average, consumers can expect to pay an additional 10 to 20 cents per gallon of paint.

Benefits of the PaintCare Program

Despite the nominal cost to consumers, the PaintCare program provides numerous benefits:

  • Reduced Environmental Impact: The program helps to divert paint waste from landfills and waterways, reducing the potential for environmental contamination.
  • Convenience for Consumers: The program offers drop-off locations where consumers can safely dispose of leftover paint for free.
  • Support for Recycling: The program supports the recycling of paint, which conserves resources and reduces waste.


Certain types of paint are exempt from the PaintCare fee, including:

  • Paint used in agricultural operations
  • Paint used by government entities
  • Paint used in federally funded projects
  • Paint used for industrial or commercial purposes


To summarize, there is no statewide tax on paint purchases in New York. The PaintCare fee, which is sometimes mistaken for a tax, is a user fee that is used to fund the PaintCare program, an industry-led initiative dedicated to managing paint waste. The PaintCare program provides environmental benefits, convenience for consumers, and support for recycling. While consumers may incur a small surcharge on paint purchases, the program's benefits outweigh the modest costs.

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