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Preparation is Key for the Fast Approaching Reporting Storm

Wine shippers work hard all year and push to finish the year with a strong holiday sales season, but January doesn’t leave much time to slow down and reflect. Come January, wine shippers face an onslaught of reporting requirements that moves compliance professionals nationwide into high gear.

More direct shipping reports are due in January than in any other month of the year. In January 2013, wineries that ship to the top 10 most-shipped-to states will see a 28% increase in their reporting workload over the monthly average. Wineries that ship to all available direct shipping states will need to submit 87 reports in January, a 68% increase in reporting requirements over the average reporting month.

This happens every year as a combination of monthly reports, as well as quarterly, semi-annual and annual reports, come due. A few states, including North Carolina, Idaho, Hawaii, Connecticut and Ohio have monthly, quarterly and annual reports due simultaneously starting in January.

As with storms of all kinds, the best way to get through it is to be prepared and to start early. Make sure you have all required dates of birth, tracking numbers and other essential data points ahead of time. Having this mandatory data in advance should give you confidence that you are off to a good start.

If you intend to electronically file any of your reports, December is a good time to make sure that your state tax accounts are set up and ready to go for January. Having all of your state tax accounts set up before reporting time will ensure you are ready to hit the ground running.

No major reporting changes occurred in 2012 with the following exceptions: New Jersey opened to direct shipping in May of this year and requires remittance of a sales tax report and an excise tax report. Licensed shippers who signed up with the state of Washington by July 20, expecting to sell less than 6,000 gallons during the calendar year in Washington (including all sales, not just direct shipping) will file the LIQ-774, LIQ-778 or LIQ-870 annually for the first time this coming January. Please see our previous blog post for instructions on how to sign up for the 2013 reporting year.

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