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Introducing AutoFile – Fully Automated Filing & Payments

To our valued customers:
The US beverage alcohol industry has it tough. It is one of the most regulated industries in the United States, as well as one of the most fragmented. Our industry is full of thousands of small businesses and startups; Entrepreneurs following their passion and seeking to achieve their dream of building a business as a winery, brewery, distillery or importer.

Easy to use dashboardToday, I’m proud to announce a major milestone in our effort to eliminate the complexity and cost of compliance for beverage alcohol companies: AutoFile – The first fully automated filing and payment solution for regulatory reporting.

No longer will you have to print paper, cut checks, or log into online filing systems. All of your state sales tax, excise tax, direct shipping and wholesale gallonage reports are automatically filed through AutoFile, complete with payment.

AutoFile has many benefits over reporting by hand, or outsourcing:
Simple funding: State payments are made out of an account of your choosing. No painful escrow accounts to manage, or reconciliation to deal with. It’s all under your own accounts!
Total control: Anytime, anywhere, view your compliance activity, place filings on hold, review past activity. Just like online banking you can view everything submitted on your behalf, in real time.
Future proof: If a state regulatory system changes its forms, procedures or methods, rest easy, it’s our problem now, not yours.
Guaranteed: All regulatory filings will be sent on time and accurately, guaranteed.

I encourage you to try it today, using our special free trial offer:

Your first month of reporting is on us, plus we’ll waive your setup fees.
Customers: Click here to start your free trial!
Non-customers: Choose an edition of ShipCompliant right for you.

We are grateful to our many clients that assisted in creating a solution that will help our industry grow further and faster.

-ShipCompliant Team









Arkansas DTC wine shipments can now arrive via FedEx

Effective May 1, 2014, FedEx will begin accepting on-site direct-to-consumer wine shipment orders to Arkansas residents. Both FedEx Express and FedEx Ground services will be available for wineries licensed to ship wine directly to Arkansas consumers. As we outlined in our blog post back in February, in order to be compliant, wineries must:

  • Apply for a $25 wine shipping permit (call the AR ABC for a permit application – 501-682-1105)
  • Ship on-site shipments only
  • Send orders only to private residences
  • Pay sales and excise taxes
  • Limit shipment volumes to 1 case per resident per quarter, max

Wineries should also note the FedEx label placed on any shipments satisfies the requirement of having a special shipping label on any on-site orders sent to Arkansas residents. FedEx’s shipping map will be updated on May 1.

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

3 Reasons To Get Excited About This Year’s DIRECT Conference

ShipCompliant DIRECT 2013

We look forward to the DIRECT Conference each year, however, this year’s conference promises to be the most exciting yet! Here are some reasons we are excited.

1. Our amazing keynote speaker, Zingerman’s Co-Owner & Founding Partner, Ari Weinzweig
What can a deli in Ann Arbor, Michigan teach the world about building a business that is both culture-driven and wildly profitable? Plenty, as it turns out, and Ari Weinzweig, Co-Owner and Founding Partner of the acclaimed Zingerman’s Delicatessen is on a mission to do just that.

In his keynote presentation at DIRECT, Weinzweig will share his visionary approach, which has propelled the Zingerman’s Community of Businesses (ZCoB) to success,  including the “natural laws of business” as introduced in his book, Zingerman’s Guide to Good Leading: Part 1, A Lapsed Anarchist’s Approach to Building a Great Business. He is known for his engaging and eclectic public speaking style, which fuses humor with practical instruction.

In addition to writing a series of books, Weinzweig has translated his model into a program dubbed Zingtrain, which facilitates training for diverse companies around the country, including Domaine Carneros Winery. “We have used the Zingtrain model to revolutionize our business,” said Eileen Crane, Domaine Carneros’ CEO. Weinzweig’s speech promises to be an unforgettable start to DIRECT 2014; you won’t want to miss it!

2. New two day format = more time for ShipCompliant University!
For the first time, the DIRECT Conference will be spread throughout the course of two days, May 8 and 9, in order to deliver more content and value to participants than in previous years.

Day 1 will be focused on Strategies for Wine Sales Success, filled with valuable information for winery executives and anyone interested in shipping wine, including winery owners, tasting room managers, compliance professionals, financial teams, shipping managers and more. In addition to Weinzweig’s keynote presentation, the agenda will include a look at the changing industry with ShipCompliant CEO Jason Eckenroth, state-by-state legislative updates with Steve Gross (Vice President, State Relations, Wine Institute), a panel of leaders in the industry, and an exhibitor showcase. Check out the full line-up of industry focused breakout sessions and speakers.

Day 2 will be fully centered around ShipCompliant University, a series of offerings focused on delivering education that enables users to make the most of ShipCompliant software. Not only will clients have a first look to explore the brand new features announced, they will also get hands-on training,  and one-on-one sessions with the ShipCompliant Client Services team. Additionally, Client Services will address any questions specific to your business or workflow right there in person!

3. Most importantly, the opportunity to spend time with YOU!
In all honesty, what we’re most excited about is being able to connect with clients  and industry friends in person! While we build relationships with you all year long, we count down the days until we can put faces to names and learn more about your needs. We strive to make DIRECT the best possible experience for all those who come. “Those who attend DIRECT will take a giant step forward with their business and leadership skills. We can’t wait!” said Sam Straka, a member of our Client Services team. Learn more and register today to confirm your spot for DIRECT 2014. DIRECT is happening May 8th and 9th!

Special offer for ShipComplaint Blog subscribers: Save 10% on your DIRECT registration with discount code SCBLOG10.

Study on Efforts to Prevent Marketing to Minors Gives Alcohol Industry High Marks

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently released their fourth study on efforts to prevent marketing to minors, and the results are positive. The study shows the self-policing efforts by members of the wine, beer, and spirits industries continue to demonstrate responsible advertising. The 2014 FTC Study found a more than 93% compliance rate with industry guidelines for advertising placement, a 1% increase from the 2008 Study. The other three studies were conducted in 1999, 2003, and 2008.

The most notable difference of the latest study from past studies is the considerable increase in information gathered on digital and online marketing efforts and expenditures. Online social media usage, a new and common platform for information distribution, adds data that keeps the study contemporary with today’s current marketing field. The study focuses on:

  • Advertising placements
  • Online and other digital marketing
  • Product placement in entertainment media
  • External reviews of complaints regarding code compliance
  • Alcohol marketing expenditures

The FTC study delivered a number of conclusions for alcohol marketers to keep in mind:

  • Adherence to Industry marketing codes are encouraged
  • Advocated use of “age-gating” technology (requiring the user/consumer to enter a birth date, rather than simply acknowledging they are over 21 before entering a producer’s website or social media site.
  • Producers should be pro-active in removing code violations that are user-generated on producer websites or social media sites.
  • Participation in industries’ external compliant review systems is necessary to continue to improve voluntary advertising and marketing standards

A summary of the 2014 FTC study can be read in this press release, or in full here. You may also review the respective codes of advertising and marketing developed by each of the following industries, as well as the previous three studies:

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.