Keep the Change - Bring Your Bag - Fight Litter

Retailers and the Bag Law

Registration & Payment

Customer brought his reusable bag to a grocery store

Montgomery County supports our businesses in implementing and remaining in compliance with the Bag Tax Law. We offer the following resources to help your business properly carry out the bag tax law requirements. We encourage businesses who need help understanding their obligations to contact us for further assistance. 

Letter to Retailers about the Bag Tax Law

Dear Montgomery County Business Owner/Manager,

Please review this important information regarding Montgomery County’s Bag Tax Law and your business.

The Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is working to make sure retailers are in compliance with the Bag Tax Law and offer resources to help businesses come into and maintain compliance. Chapter 52, Article IX of the Montgomery County Code, Carryout Bag Tax Law , requires retail establishments in Montgomery County to collect a five-cent tax from a customer for each paper or plastic carryout bag provided to the customer at checkout. DEP is charged with ensuring that all businesses subject to the Bag Tax Law are registered with Montgomery County’s Department of Finance and are in compliance with the Law.

Records obtained from the Montgomery County Circuit Court License Department indicate that you operate a licensed retail establishment in Montgomery County that may be subject to the Bag Tax Law. If your business provides customers any disposable carryout bag (paper or plastic) at the point of sale, you are subject to and must follow the Bag Tax Law. The Bag Tax Law requires a retail establishment to register with the County’s dedicated website to obtain appropriate tax report filing and tax remittance information, which can be found at Bag Tax Registration & Payment System. Further information about the Bag Tax Law, including exemptions and "Frequently Asked Questions for Retailers," can be found at Montgomery County’s Carryout Bag Law.

Revenues from the Bag Tax Law are deposited into the County’s Water Quality Protection Charge fund, which is used for County anti-litter programs and other watershed restoration initiatives. The Bag Tax Law is an important component of a multi-pronged effort—including litter enforcement, outreach, and litter removal programs—to protect public health and the environment. We have resources available to assist your business with compliance of the Bag Tax Law program and would be happy to work with you through this process. Please know that Failure to comply with the Bag Tax Law can result in fines of $500 for a first offense and $750 for repeat offenses. In addition, the County may pursue any remittances owed, along with interest and penalties, as provided in Chapter 52, Article IX, Carryout Bag Tax, Section 52-79, Remittance and 52-80 Interest and Penalties.

Again, if you provide customers a carryout bag at the point of sale, please register with the Department of Finance through the County’s dedicated website and ensure that your business is indicating on the customer’s transaction receipt the number of carryout bags provided to the customer and the total amount of tax levied. Each retail establishment may retain 1 cent from each 5-cent tax that the retail establishment collects to cover the administrative expense of collecting and remitting the tax to the County. If you feel your retail establishment is not subject to the Bag Tax Law, please provide information regarding why you feel you are exempt. If you have any additional questions about the Bag Tax Law, please contact us via email at or by phone at 240-777-6477.

 Stan Edwards
Division Chief
Energy, Climate, and Compliance Division

PDF Resources for Printing

About the Bag Law

Frequently Asked Questions