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Save the Peach Trees! Alcohol Tax Filing Goes Online in Georgia

Alcohol Tax Filers who pay Georgia Excise Tax or related Georgia license fees will be required to file and renew online beginning September 2012 through the Georgia Tax Center (GTC). The Georgia Department of Revenue (GDOR) has sent out a notice stating that businesses can begin managing their alcohol tax account with the GTC and access the new e-file templates starting September 4, 2012, in time to file August 2012 monthly tax returns.

Affected alcohol returns include, but are not limited to:

  • Georgia ATT-7SP Excise Tax Return
  • Georgia ATT-11 Monthly Report of Distilled Spirits Shipments to Wholesalers
  • Georgia ATT-112 Report of Wine Shipments

The state sent out a second notice this week containing instructions on how to create a GTC login or add a license account to an existing login. Also noteworthy, those intending to renew their alcohol-related licenses will be expected to do so through their new GTC online account for the renewal period beginning September 4, 2012 and ending November 1, 2012.

Georgia’s announcement to go paperless joins the ranks of other online state filing systems such as Wisconsin and Ohio.

Georgia Tax Center (GTC) Login

Washington State Simplifies Tax Filing For Wineries

Washington now allows an optional annual filing of wine tax for wineries whose total sales into Washington are less than 6,000 gallons annually (roughly 2,500 cases). Wineries that exceed the 6,000 gallon limit, however, must continue to file monthly returns. This new allowance comes after the passage of SB 5259, a bill that passed in March and officially came into effect in June of this year. Bright yellow postcards were recently sent out by the Liquor Control Board (LCB) to qualifying wineries, along with instructions on how to change to the new frequency.

Senate and House Bill Reports on SB 5259 state that the passage of the bill is expected to benefit an estimated 300-400 wineries, simplify the reporting process and save time and effort. The state will benefit as well, as processing returns and payments for small dollar amounts can prove costly for the state.

How to Notify the State

Wineries who file the LIQ-774 (in-state wineries) and holders of the Certificate of Approval (COA) who file the LIQ-778 or the LIQ-870 (direct wine shippers) expecting to sell less than 6,000 gallons in Washington this year can sign up to file annually for the remainder of 2012 by emailing July 20 is the deadline for notifying the Liquor Board of intention to file annually for the remainder of the 2012 calendar year, so wineries should submit their requests to the LCB as soon as possible. In this email, specific account information should be included:

  • Name and phone number of the individual who files the returns
  • Trade name of the winery
  • COA number (or winery license number for in-state wineries)
  • Whether or not June 2012 sales have already been filed

The annual report for the remainder of 2012 may include sales from June through December. However, wineries that have already filed for the month of June will file the annual report beginning with July’s sales. If wineries would prefer to file annually beginning in January, this same process can be followed to change the filing frequency before the beginning of each new year.

Questions? Please contact the Washington State Liquor Control Board directly, or comment below.

Out-of-State Shippers in Texas Get a Break on Excise Taxes – Until Now

Texas recently sent an updated Direct Shipper’s Report (form C-240) along with a letter to Out-of-State Winery Direct Shippers, alerting the licensees of a change in the tax rate to be paid on wine sent to Texas residents from out-of-state. Until now, Texas has only required out-of-state direct shippers to pay $0.204 per gallon on all wine shipped. The taxes on vinous liquors listed on the revised form are equal to the taxes paid by in-state wineries and are as follows:

  • Wine with an ABV of 14% or less – $0.204/gallon
  • Wine with an ABV over 14% – $0.408/gallon
  • Sparkling wine – $0.516/gallon

The updated rates are in effect for the current quarter (December – February), and the next payment is due on March 15th.

Texas Form C-240

Maryland Released Direct Shipping Report Form and Extends Deadline for Quarter 3, 2011

The Maryland Comptroller’s office released its Direct Shipper Excise Tax Return form Tuesday. This is the form that licensed direct shippers submit quarterly to pay their state excise taxes and report their shipments to consumers in the state.

IMPORTANTLY, the Comptroller’s office has pushed back the deadline for direct shippers to submit their 3rd Quarter Report to November 1. The Report had been due on October 10th. However, because the Comptroller’s Office released the new form so late, they have extended the deadline to November 1. This extension of the deadline only applies to the Quarter 3, 2011 report. All subsequent reports will be due on the 10th of the month following the period. For example, the Quarter 4, 2011 report will be due on January 10th.

Maryland Direct Wine Shipper Tax Return

The report can be downloaded HERE:

ShipCompliant Clients: If you have subscribed to the Maryland Direct Shipping Report, the new form — all filled out and ready to print and send to the Comptroller’s office — will appear in your “Open Reports” inbox later today.

Not a ShipCompliant Client?: If you are shipping to Maryland, let us produce this report for you at no charge to give you an idea of the simplicity and efficiency that comes with using ShipCompliant. Just send us a spreadsheet and we’ll do the rest for free..

The state of Maryland opened to winery-to-consumer direct shipping on July 1, 2011, after a multi-year effort by the industry and consumers to change the Maryland law.

Put an End to Year-End Reporting Hassles

Stack of filesThis year, if you ship to all available states, you will need to submit a total of 556 state reports—70 of these in January alone. On top of monthly shipping and tax reports, quarterly and annual reports come due in January to significantly increase your reporting workload in the first month of the year.

The amount of data required, in addition to the overall quantity of reports due, can present a daunting challenge for even the most organized compliance professionals. For example, some states require annual direct shipper returns, which require detailed listings of each invoice shipped over the entire year and can be 15 pages or longer— depending on shipment volume.

Help set yourself up to breeze through the hectic January reporting period with these three simple, but important, steps:

Step 1: Review 2010 changes in state reporting requirements
As simple as it sounds, the first thing you want to do is to take some time to make sure you understand reporting requirements for each state that you ship to. Of the 38 states that allow direct shipping, some states require monthly, quarterly or annual reports, while others do not. And as more states are moving towards electronic filing, you are responsible for knowing if you must file electronically and the correct process to do so.

If you ship to Washington state, you can opt to e-file if you pay less than $4800 in taxes each year. If your taxes exceed $4800 annually, however, you are required to use e-file and e-pay to file monthly reports. Wisconsin, Ohio, and California and offer e-filing. If you plan to file any reports electronically, check the states’ websites to set up your online account and to review acceptable file formats and payment requirements.

Iowa opened for direct shipping as a permit state in July 2010. Wineries that ship to Iowa are now required to have a direct-shipping license and to report excise tax monthly.

If you are uncertain about any reporting requirements, now is the time to contact the states with your questions. The closer we get to year-end reporting season, the harder it will be to get your questions answered in a timely manner as the states get inundated with calls.

Step 2: Familiarize yourself with your reports
After you know which reports you need to submit, take some time to review them and to know what each report entails; not all direct shipping or tax reports are alike. Do you know which monthly, quarterly and annual state reports require you submit purchaser and/or recipient date of birth, carrier information, or tracking numbers?

Do you know which reports are based on payment date versus actual ship date? This concept itself can be confusing if you are unfamiliar with accounting methods. For example, direct shipping reports often ask you to report the invoice date, or purchase date, of the order, but you are required to include orders based on the date when the order actually shipped (the date that it was picked up by the common carrier).

Review your reports carefully to make sure you understand what each one requires.

Step 3: Gather all required data
Once you know what each report requires, you are all set to start organizing your data. Start early to have everything in place before January, and you will save yourself the headache and hassle of trying to find this information in the midst of the year-end reporting frenzy.

Date of birth: Wisconsin and Maui County require direct shippers to report both purchaser and recipient date of birth on direct shipping reports.

Label: The New York Wine Manufacturer’s Report includes a field for the TTB ID for each wine product shipped into the state. This is a unique ID assigned by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau when you register for a Certificate of Label Approval.

Carrier/tracking information: Virginia and New York require that you specify the common carrier for all orders shipped to their residents, and Missouri’s Form 12 and Form 40 Direct Shipper Annual Report and Tax Computation require tracking numbers for all shipped orders. If you do not currently have your tracking numbers, contact your shipping department or fulfillment provider to get this information lined up.

Summary reports: Michigan and Hawaii’s annual sales reports and North Carolina’s quarterly sales and excise reports are summary reports on which you will need to list the amount of tax you paid in prior months.

Going through the three above steps will help eliminate unnecessary hassle and headache from your year-end reporting workload and can help make your reporting workflows more efficient overall when completed on an ongoing basis.

If you are a ShipCompliant user, these steps will be automatically completed for you, eliminating 90% of your year-end reporting workload! If you already have a ShipCompliant account, register for the December 16th Year-End Reporting webinar to learn detailed information, specific account settings and steps you can implement to further streamline your year-end reporting.

Qualified Idaho Wine Tax Return Filers May Opt for Less Frequent Filing

On November 5, 2010, Idaho State Tax Commission officials sent out a letter to qualified wine tax return filers, offering the opportunity to change their filing frequency from the mandatory monthly submission to quarterly, semi-annually or annually. “Qualified Filers” include direct shippers who report less than $600 of wine tax per quarter (approximately 186 9-liter cases per month) and have a good filing history. Recipients of letters from the department, in order to change their filing cycle for the upcoming year, must respond to the letter by December 1, 2010. Filers should continue to submit monthly returns until after January 1, 2011 when the new filing frequencies will come into effect. The Idaho State Tax Commission encourages qualified filers to take advantage of this opportunity; submitting returns less frequently will mean filers no longer need to submit returns for negligible amounts of tax and will reduce the amount of required paperwork.

Note: ShipCompliant users will see the new frequency options available on the Report Settings page at the end of December.

Idaho Sample Letter: Highlights due dates and options for filing frequencies.