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    Beer Here: Will Direct to Consumer Beer and Cider Shipments Happen in New York?

    Currently there are only a handful of states that offer DTC beer shipments in the country. New York could be next up to bat with a bill that, among other things, would allow beer shipments to cross state lines into the hands of consumers. New York is the 4th largest consumer of beer products in the country, and may become the largest consumer of beer of any state that allows interstate direct shipping of beer if this bill passes as written. Laws that allow DTC beer and cider shipments in states with higher consumption will create an interesting opportunity for breweries around the country. With 2 weeks left in the session, it will be interesting to see if beer shipments will make it in the final bill.

    Other changes proposed in the current version of the bill include:

    • The removal of the existing wine direct shipping reciprocal customer shipping volume limit
    • A new common carrier license
    • Wineries and farm wineries would be able to ship not only their own wines, but wines from neighboring wineries. (See page 47 of the bill)

    Keep an eye on our blog and our twitter feed (@shipcompliant) for updates as we follow the story.

    Sources:
    http://www.sla.ny.gov/system/files/Summary_of_SLA_01-14.pdf
    http://www.sla.ny.gov/system/files/SLA_01-14_bill_4-10-14.pdf
    http://www.beerinstitute.org/assets/uploads/2012_Beer_Consumption_By_State.pdf

    Arizona Tax Reporting Set for 2015 Simplification

    In May of 2012, Governor Jan Brewer established the Transaction Privilege Tax Simplification Task Force in order to identify ways the current complex sales tax code could be simplified in the hopes of reducing tax filer stress and increasing tax-filer compliance. The conclusions of this task force, available in full in the Final Report, led to the creation and subsequent passage of HB 2111. HB 2111, which goes into effect January 1, 2015, calls for all licensing and taxes to be paid and reported through a single online portal.

    This change, outlined in more detail in Section 42-5015 of the bill, will be an especially welcomed change to how Transaction Privilege Taxes (TPT) are reported. Currently cities are split between 73 “program” cities, where the state collects the tax, and 18 “non-program” cities, where cities are responsible for collecting the tax. For licensed wine direct shippers who remit applicable taxes to several locations, this can result in an overwhelming set of tax filing requirements. The state will release more information regarding the new online platform throughout 2014. ShipCompliant clients should stay tuned for announcements that will further outline the changes as well as subsequent updates that will ease the transition in their account to the new “one-stop-shop” process. All updates to clients will take place well in advance of the January 1, 2015 effective date.

    UPDATE

    The TPT simplification process has been pushed back until 2016, and therefore the majority of non-program cities will continue to handle their own licensing and taxes for the 2015 year. The following cities, however, will become program cities effective January 1, 2015:

    • Bullhead City
    • Somerton
    • Willcox

    For further information please refer to the state’s TPT Simplification Update page.

    South Dakota Direct Shipping Bill Needs One More Push

    South Dakota is one of the few remaining states that prohibits the direct-to-consumer shipment of wine, but that could change if supporters of wine shipping quickly encourage the South Dakota House of Representatives to support SB 114. And speed is of the essence since SB 114 must pass out of the House by March 11 if it is to become law this year.

    Passed by the South Dakota Senate by a vote of 23-11, SB 114 would allow a licensed winery to deliver up to twelve cases of wine to an individual consumer within a calendar year. The bill includes a $150 annual permit fee and remittance of sales and excise taxes. It also goes a little further than most states with existing shipping laws by requiring both age verification of the purchaser and also the registration of each label shipped into the state in advance.

    The next step for SB 114 is to move through the Commerce and Energy Committee in the House of Representatives. Then, if voted through, receive a positive vote on the floor of the South Dakota House of Representatives before the bill would head to the Governor’s desk for signing, which he said he would do. The Commerce and Energy Committee is expected to consider and vote on the bill early next week.

    Free the Grapes! is recommending that South Dakotans contact immediately House Commerce Committee members. Winery proponents can help the effort by reaching out to any customers and contacts in South Dakota and urging them to visit the Free the Grapes! website to send their thoughts on the bill to South Dakota lawmakers.

    Wine & Spirit Suppliers to Arkansas Must Register Products by End of Year

    With passage of HB 1480 (now titled “Act 1105“), the state of Arkansas is requiring that all wine and spirits suppliers actively distributing wine and spirits into the state must register each distributed product with the state. Wine & spirits products (beer is not required) currently in distribution must be registered by December 31 and all registration takes place on-line.

    The state fee for on-line product registration is $20/label. Suppliers can no longer send the “Manufacturer’s Request for Brand Registration or Change of Wholesaler” form in a paper format. This is now done on-line.

    How to Register Your Currently Distributed Products:

    1. Visit Arkansas’ Electronic Registrations Website
    2. Have a list of your actively distributed COLA numbers, names of your Arkansas distributors, and any brand owner authorization letters if the registrant is not the owner of the brand being registered with the state
    3. Payment is via credit card

    Through December 31, 2013, suppliers may download an excel spreadsheet of their COLAs by Federal Basic Permit Number. Labels will initially be approved directly upon completion of workflow process. The state will review incoming registration to ensure non-violation of sole source requirements and other rules and regulations.

    IMPORTANT:
    -All currently active products must be registered by December 31
    -Product registrations are valid through June 30, 2014
    -Label Registration status can be verified by COLA Number
    -Newly distributed products may be registered beginning January 1, 2014

    Feel free to ask any questions you may have about Arkansas product registration on this blog post and we will answer them as quickly as possible.

    Will Massachusetts Lawmakers Finally Act?

    In January of 2010, the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit affirmed the judgment of the District Court in the case of Family Winemakers of California v. Jenkins. This ruling struck down the 30,000 gallon capacity cap, which excluded 98% of domestic wines from shipment to Massachusetts. Although this represented a big win for wineries, several problems remained, and it was up to the Massachusetts legislature to act.

    Almost four years later, Bay State lawmakers will once again try to craft a replacement law and move it through the legislature. The first and most important step is a public hearing on Direct Wine Shipping in Massachusetts to be held in Boston on Tuesday, November 12 at 1pm Eastern Time in the Joint Committee on Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure.

    Bill H.294, sponsored by Representative Ted Speliotis, is one of five bills related to direct shipping listed in the hearing schedule. It would allow wineries to ship up to 24 cases per year to individual consumers in Massachusetts, require annual volume reporting to the state and remittance of excise and sales taxes to the state.

    One key issue that must be addressed to make any direct shipping law effective is that of a “fleet permit” for common carriers. A fleet permit allows common carriers like FedEx and UPS to obtain a single permit for alcohol deliveries that covers all their trucks in the state, in contrast to regulations that require a permit be obtained for each and ever delivery truck. Without a fleet permit as part of a direct shipping bill, it is unlikely that the major common carriers would deliver wine into Massachusetts no matter how good the rest of the bill might be.

    Additionally, the current direct shipping law on the books has a “consumer aggregate” volume limit, which allows consumers to only receive a limited amount of wine within a calendar year from all sources. This kind of aggregate limit is mostly un-workable, as wineries have little idea what consumers have already received. The aggregate volume limit is not included in H.294.

    Behind Pennsylvania (population 12,702,379), Massachusetts (6,547,629) is the second largest of nine states that are currently off limits for wine shipments. The other states include Alabama (4,779,736), Kentucky (4,339,367), Oklahoma (3,751,351), Mississippi (2,967,297), Utah (2,763,885), Delaware (897,934), and South Dakota (814,180).

    Additional Resources:
    Free the Grapes! Press Release
    Huge win for wineries, but can I ship to Massachusetts now?
    Why Can’t I Have a Boston Wine Party?
    Massachusetts Remains Elusive for Direct Shippers

    2013 Wine Compliance Legislative Updates and a Virtual Seminar Invitation

    You may remember reading our posts highlighting what to look for in the legislative season back at the beginning of 2013. Now that many legislative sessions are starting to come to a close, here is a quick check-in on this year’s legislative changes, all of which will be addressed in detail at the ShipCompliant Direct Wine Sales Virtual Seminar, scheduled for October 17th. Reserve your spot today for a complete update on the 2013 wine direct shipping world.

    How did the Direct Shipping Bills Stack Up?

    Pennsylvania and Massachusetts were the headlining states this year once again when it comes to opening up new states to direct shipping. Although neither state passed a bill prior to the summer recess, legislatures are back in session in both states and direct shipping remains a possibility.

    Montana HB 402 will become law tomorrow (Tuesday October 1, 2013), effectively replacing the wine connoisseur’s license with a direct shipping “endorsement” available to Montana wineries and to out-of-state wineries holding a Foreign Winery License. Check out our previous blog post for more detailed information on obtaining this endorsement.

    Arkansas Act 483, originally HB 1749, opened up limited direct shipping to the “Natural State” for wineries. The state is still finalizing how they will regulate this new law, which took effect mid-August, but this previous post provides a detailed summary of the Act.

    Streamlined COLA Processing

    The TTB continues to revamp their website and accept feedback from the industry. Review the status of the COLA Streamlining Accomplishments and Long-term Initiatives on the TTB website.

    Existing Direct Shipping Laws, Reworked

    Nebraska LB 230 passed and became effective on September 6, 2013. We highlighted the details on the bill that adds new restrictions to the wine direct shipping process.

    North Dakota SB 2147 created two new licenses that will allow for wine direct shippers to utilize licensed common carriers and fulfillment houses. This bill took effect August 1, 2013.

    Product Registration Updates

    In Arkansas, HB 1480 became effective mid-August, and beginning October 15 suppliers will be able to register their products online under the new requirements outlined in this bill.

    Reserve your spot today for a complete legislative update and more during the ShipCompliant Direct Wine Sales Virtual Seminar!