Untangling the complex world of wine direct shipping and compliance
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The First of May Brings the First of Direct Wine Shipping to the Garden State

May 1st, 2012
By Sarah Fine - ShipCompliant Research Team

Spring brings more than flowers this year for supporters of direct shipping. After three and a half months of anticipation and preparation, the New Jersey Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control posted checklists, forms and applications on their site, making S 3172 a reality for the wine industry. Effective May 1, New Jersey is accepting applications for the Out-of-State Winery License from wineries producing less than 250,000 gallons (roughly 105,000 cases) annually. Annual production dictates the fee for the new license:

  • Less than 1,000 gallons – $63
  • Between 1,000 and 2,500 gallons – $125
  • Between 2,500 and 30,000 gallons – $250
  • Between 30,000 and 50,000 gallons – $375
  • Between 50,000 and 250,000 gallons – $938

In addition to the listed winery license fees, New Jersey will make out-of-state wineries work hard for entry into the 40th U.S. state to allow direct shipping. The latest information indicates out-of-state wineries must: 1) register their business with the Secretary of State ($125); 2) register their business with the Division of Taxation for payment of state sales and excise taxes; 3) post a beverage tax bond (ranging from $1,000 to $1,000,000 depending on anticipated sales); and 4) submit the license application with the fee, outlined above, to the New Jersey Alcoholic Beverage Control (NJ ABC). New Jersey also requires all products shipped into the state to be brand-registered at a cost of $23 per label.

In an unanticipated twist, corporate laws in New Jersey require any foreign (non-New Jersey) corporation that secures a license from a state agency (for example, a wine shipper’s license from the NJ ABC) to establish nexus with the state. With this nexus, out-of-state winery licensees must also annually file corporate income tax and pay a minimum of $500/year, depending on gross revenues. Partnerships are also subject to a tax of $150/partner/year and annual filing. All wineries applying for the license should be aware that they are subject to this requirement.

On top of direct shipping capabilities for Out-of-State Wineries, with the payment of an additional fee (from $100 to $1000 depending on annual production), licensees may ship directly to New Jersey retailers. Common carriers are not allowed to ship these orders to retailers, and price posting is required on products for sale to retailers. Additionally, licensees have the option to open up to 16 tasting rooms within New Jersey for a fee of $250/site.

Here are the forms referenced in New Jersey’s checklist and instructions, in order of appearance:

We realize that the application process in New Jersey is a little daunting, so ShipCompliant has already geared up EasyWineLicensing.com to facilitate the licensing process. Visit www.easywinelicensing.com before May 15th with the coupon code “EWLNJ” and save 35% off ShipCompliant service fees to obtain a New Jersey direct shipping license.








4 Responses to “The First of May Brings the First of Direct Wine Shipping to the Garden State”

  1. Jeff says:

    I was poking around the NJ web sites today and found this web page:

    http://www.state.nj.us/treasury/revenue/gettingregistered.shtml

    On this web page I found the following words:

    “SPECIAL CONSIDERATION: Out-of-state businesses that believe they do not have state tax nexus will file a paper form NJ-REG(Step 2) in order to obtain a Business Registration Certificate. Business entities that file form NJ-REG only will be subject to a nexus review, initiated and conducted by the Division of Taxation.”

    I took this as meaning that perhaps the $500+ corporate tax may not be required. Maybe?

  2. Ian Griffith says:

    Do you know if a winery ships to a NJ retailer whether the state has at rest laws that require special arrangements?

  3. Sarah Werner says:

    Jeff, unfortunately, because wineries would hold a license in another agency, it doesn’t seem like the exemption will work. See the bottom right of page two of the NJ-REG Instructions (http://www.state.nj.us/treasury/revenue/forms/2000.pdf).

  4. Jeff says:

    Hi Sarah – Thanks for the reply. I suppose the question is whether I am doing business in NJ (where I have no physical presence) or I am doing business in CA and merely delivering product to a NJ address… And I suppose since I am not a lawyer, you would know that better ;)

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