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Kansas Issues Revenue Ruling and Amends License Term

Governor Parkinson of Kansas signed SB 452 into law, changing the license term for a Special Order Shipping License from one year to two years. The legislation became effective on July 1, 2010. The fee for a new Special Order Shipping License was adjusted to $150 to reflect the new two-year license term.  Current holders of a Special Order Shipping License are now required to renew their license for a period of two years and pay a $110 fee.  Wineries applying for a new license have two options. Option 1) Pay the two year license fee in full. Option 2) Pay half of the license fee plus the registration fee with their application and pay the remaining half of the license fee plus a 10% surcharge within one year of the date the license was issued. It should be noted that a failure to pay the remaining license fee and 10% surcharge by the due date will result in the automatic cancellation of the license.

On August 23, 2010 the Kansas Department of Revenue issued Revenue Ruling, No. 19-2010-03 which states that taxpayers are not required to remit alcoholic beverages gallonage tax due and owing for the reporting period, if the amount is less than $5. The change in policy was made due to the administrative costs associated with processing payments of less than $5. The ruling does not exempt a licensed direct shipper from any reporting requirements. The reporting period for Special Order Shipper Licensees is one calendar year. Gallonage reports are due no later than January 15th of the following year.

The Special Order Shipping License is required for all offsite shipments to consumers in Kansas and requires wineries to use an approved age verification service and to pay enforcement tax and gallonage tax when applicable. The shipping license is not required for on-site sales. Any winery may ship to a Kansas consumer that purchases wine when visiting their tasting room. Applications and additional direct shipping information is available on the Wine Institute website.

-Annie Bones, State Relations, Wine Institute

The Lone Reciprocal State

New Mexico Stands Alone

Offsite Wine Shipping MapIn 2004, 13 states had wine shipping reciprocity provisions. Essentially, reciprocal states allowed any winery to ship into their state as long as that winery’s state allowed an equal reciprocal privilege. The Granholm decision of 2005 effectively declared reciprocity unconstitutional (pop quiz: would reciprocity provisions be beyond challenge if HR 5034 passed?). Since then, 12 of the 13 reciprocal states have adopted permit systems that allow wineries from any state to ship in as long as they stay in compliance with the direct shipping rules.  Now that Iowa’s new permit system is live, New Mexico stands alone as the only remaining reciprocal state. Previous attempts to bring New Mexico into compliance with Granholm have to date been unsuccessful, so the reciprocity statutes remain in effect.

Don’t Forget to Remit Iowa Excise Taxes

Speaking of Iowa, effective July 1st wineries from any state (previously the reciprocity provision restricted the states from which wineries could ship into Iowa) can ship into Iowa so long as they are actively licensed as a "Wine Direct Shipper". Licensed shippers are required to remit excise tax monthly to the Iowa Department of Commerce – Alcoholic Beverages Division (ABD), and the first excise tax report is due this month. Each monthly report should be postmarked by the 10th of the month.

Although it’s possible that electronic filing may be available in the near future, for now the ABD is requiring that licensees complete the Report of Wine Shipments to Iowa Consumers spreadsheet, print it out, and mail it to:

Iowa Dept. of Commerce, Alcoholic Beverages Divisions
ATTN: Tax Division
1918 S. E. Hulsizer Road
Ankeny, IA 50021.

The form is fairly self-explanatory. For each shipment, licensees fill out the name and address of the recipient, the date of shipment, invoice number, total gallons of wine shipped, the shipping company (UPS, FedEx Express, or FedEx Ground), the amount of wine tax owed (multiply total gallons by $1.75), the permit number of the shipping company (UPS=AC0000003, FedEx Express=AC0000002, and FedEx Ground=AC0000001), and the tracking number of the package(s) that shipped. Reporting the tracking number and shipping company is not new to wineries as New York, Missouri, and Virginia all require one of the two data points.

Once you have completed filling out the spreadsheet, print out the completed form and make your payment out to “Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division”. Stuff your envelope with the form and the check, and make sure it is postmarked by August 10th!

Set Your Sights on the Hawkeye State: Get Started by Applying for a Direct Shipping License in Iowa

iowa

The direct shipping applications for Iowa are now available. As of July 1, 2010 Iowa will require wineries to obtain a direct shipping license to ship wine directly to consumers. Previously a reciprocal state, Iowa’s borders will soon be open to all wineries across the country who obtain a permit, regardless of reciprocity status with the state. Additionally, there are no restrictive requirements on the winery (such as a volume production cap), making Iowa’s market accessible to all permitted wineries.

The permit application can only be completed online at Iowa’s elicensing website. You may view Iowa’s user guide for instructions on how to begin the licensing process. The “Wine Direct Shippers License (DS)” requires a fee of $25 and a $5,000 bond. Though the direct shipper license application is completed online, copies of state and federal winery licenses, and bond should be mailed to the Iowa Department of Commerce, Alcoholic Beverages Division. Monthly reports and excise taxes are required although they have yet to release these forms. Iowa will not require wine direct shippers to collect sales tax. Start your application process today and be one of the first to become compliant in Iowa.

Direct Shipping Licensing Updates

Michigan

Direct shipping permits for Michigan are renewable on May 1. The annual renewal cost for the Michigan Permit is $100; the same as the initial permit fee. For those wineries that do not have a direct shipping permit for MI now is good time to consider applying. Licenses are valid from May 1 – April 30 and the $100 fee is not prorated.  The permit allows wineries to ship up to 1,500 9-liter cases to Michigan consumers.  Brand registration is required. This can be completed through the MLCC’s online label registration program for no fee. Sales tax and excise tax must be paid and reports must be filed.

New Hampshire

New Hampshire has updated its direct shipping permit application. The updated application is now available on Wine Institute’s website along with the instructions. Please be sure to complete the application in its entirety and attach all required documents. Incomplete applications will be returned.  Applicants will be happy to note that there is no permit fee. Approved shippers are allowed to ship up to 60 containers of not more than 1 liter each to each consumer during a calendar year. Monthly reports and tax payments are required.

Tennessee

The Tennessee Alcohol Beverage Commission has updated their ”Direct Shipper Application Requirements – ABC” document posted on the TN ABC and Wine Institute websites. The original version of the document did not include the “Wholesale Gallonage Letter” requirement. The Wholesale Gallonage letter is one of 2 documents issued by the TN Department of Revenue that wineries must submit with their application. The second document is the “Certificate of Registration for Sales and Use Tax.”  While the application on the TN Department of Revenue website says a bond is required, a bond is not required for wineries. For the TN DOR wholesale gallonage and sales and use tax application form, go to:  http://www.state.tn.us/revenue/forms/general/f13005_1.pdf.   Licenses are valid 1 year from the date issued and the annual license fee is $150.00. There is also a 1 time non-refundable application fee of $300.  Additional information about the application process is available on the Wine Institute website. Wineries may also contact Sharon Loveall at the TN Alcoholic Beverage Commission with any questions about winery direct shipping permits at 615.741.1602, ext. 141

By Annie Bones, State Relations – Wine Institute

Hidden Costs of Direct Shipping Licensing

Before jumping into a direct shipping program in a new state, wineries should consider their current prospect list, market potential, shipping difficulty and costs. When it comes to calculating start-up costs to enter a new state, there is often more than meets the eye. In addition to license fees, wineries may need to budget for a number of “hidden” fees including bonds, label registration fees and other application fees.

Bonds

Some states require wineries to obtain a bond in order to secure a direct shipping license. A bond is a written guaranty, purchased from a bonding company (usually an insurance firm or a surety company), to guarantee that all taxes due will be paid to the state. If there is a failure to pay, the bonding company will make good up to the amount of the bond.

Bonds for direct shippers range from $500-$1500 depending on the state, but premiums, or out-of-pocket costs, to wineries typically average around 10% of the total bond price, or $50-$180 out-of-pocket on an annual or biannual basis. Different bonding agents may quote different rates, so it pays to shop around.

Connecticut, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Texas and Wisconsin all require that wineries secure a bond before submitting your license application. For wineries that ship 40,000 gallons or more annually, Oregon issues a bond document after the license application has been received but before the license is issued. Wineries that ship less than 40,000 gallons to Oregon annually can apply for a bond wavier.

Label Registration

Several states require brand or label registrations for direct shipping. Ohio, a state that 26% of direct shippers have in their program, requires wineries to register all the labels that will be shipped into the state for a one-time registration fee of $50 per label.

If that sounds pricey to you, consider Connecticut who charges $200 per label and requires labels to be re-registered every 3 years if they are still actively shipped into the state.

Georgia, Michigan, New York, North Carolina and Virginia do not charge a fee though label or brand registration is required in these states.

Application Fees

Some states may require business, Secretary of State or tax registration, or other one-time application fees. This varies from state to state and depends on how your business is structured. Wineries that start shipping to Arizona, Connecticut, Hawaii, Kansas, Maine, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, Virginia or Wisconsin may encounter one or more of these fees.

License, bond, label registration and application fees all factor into the true break-even costs of shipping to a new state. The key to ensuring a profitable direct shipping program is to research thoroughly in order to avoid getting caught off-guard with unexpected costs.

Maine Direct Shipping Permit Applications Available

The direct shipping applications for Maine are now available on the Wine Institute website. The direct shipping permit allows wineries to ship up to 12 nine liter cases of wine to a recipient’s address each year. The Department of Public Safety, Liquor Licensing and Inspection Division has confirmed that there are no prohibited shipping areas at this time. The annual permit fee is $200 plus an additional $100 filing fee. Applicants will have to register with Maine Revenue Services to pay sales and use taxes before submitting their permit application. Maine Revenue Services will send applicants a Retailer’s Certificate to confirm that their sales tax account has been established. There is no fee to register with Revenue Services and the tax registration forms can be sent in via U.S. mail or electronically. The processing time for electronically filed applications is significantly shorter. Only sections 1 and 5 of the tax registration form must be completed.

Once wineries have received their Retailer’s Certificate they can submit their completed direct shipper application to the Liquor Licensing and Inspections Unit, along with a copy of their federal basic permit and application fee. The direct shipper application must also be notarized. Once wineries receive their direct shipping permit they will be responsible for paying excise tax to the Department of Public Safety and sales tax to Revenue Services. In addition, a direct shipping report must be filed twice a year. Reporting forms will be posted on the Wine Institute website once they become available. Should you have any questions please contact Annie Bones in Wine Institute’s State Relations Department at abones@wineinstitute.org.

Annie Bones, State Relations – Wine Institute