Wineries are now able to apply to the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission for a Direct Shipper license. Direct Shipper licensees may ship no more than 1 case (9 liters) of wine to a Tennessee consumer during a calendar month and total shipments to each consumer may not exceed 3 cases (27 liters) of wine during a calendar year. Only Tennessee consumers located in a wet region are allowed to receive wine shipments, and common carriers will not deliver shipments to an address that is located in a jurisdiction that has not authorized the sale of alcoholic beverages. A complete list of jurisdictions that have approved sales of alcohol is available on the Wine Institute website.
The first step in the direct shipper application process is registering to pay taxes, by submitting an “Application for Registration” to the Department of Revenue. The “Application for Registration” form must be completed by hand (Do Not file online version of the application.) Direct Shippers should select “Wholesale Gallonage” and “Sales and Use Tax” in section 1 and describe their business activity as “direct shipping” in section 15. Direct Shipper’s are not required to post a bond.
Once the Department of Revenue has processed the application for registration the direct shipper applicant should receive two documents: a “Certificate of Registration” and a letter confirming the tax registration process has been completed. Do not submit the Direct Shipper License application to the Alcoholic Beverage Commission before receiving these documents. The confirmation letter issued by the Department of Revenue must be submitted with the Direct Shipper License application. Direct shipper license applicants must pay a one time non-refundable fee of $300.00 and an annual license fee of $150 to the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission before receiving their license. Payment totaling $450.00 should be included with the application packet. In addition, the following documents should be submitted with the direct shipper’s license: copies of contracts with common carriers shipping wine to Tennessee consumers (also known as “Alcohol Shipping Agreement”), a copy of the applicant’s organizational document, and a copy of the applicant’s federal basic permit.
The direct shipper’s license is valid for 1 year from the date of issue. Direct shipper’s must file reports, pay a state sales tax of 9.25% and pay excise tax. The Department of Revenue will send the appropriate reporting forms and instructions to licensees based on their filing status. The application forms and instructions are available on the Wine Institute website. Wineries should remember that shipping to consumers in Tennessee without a license is classified as a felony. Should you have any questions please contact Wine Institute’s State Relations Department at 415-356-7530 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tennessee direct shipping license applications are now available. While Tennessee officially became a Limited state on July 1, wineries cannot legally ship to this state until their direct shipping license has been approved.
The application states that direct shippers may only ship to wet areas within the state; a condition that may make the state slightly less available than initially anticipated. This requirement is different than those of other states such as Florida, New Hampshire and New York, where clearly defined dry areas are prohibited from shipping. Major cities such as Memphis, Nashville, Knoxville, and Chattanooga are all considered wet areas that are open for shipping.
Tennessee direct shipping license applications are available by directly contacting the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission at (615) 741-1602. The license requirements and application can also be viewed online. Wineries that prefer a full concierge service for obtaining their license can order online through easywinelicensing.com.
To obtain a direct shipping license, wineries must first register with the Tennessee Department of Revenue. Once this step is complete, wineries pursuing a direct shipping license must submit the following to the State of Tennessee ABC:
License application (available from state)
$450 fee ($300 one-time application fee + $150 licensee fee, payable upon approval of application)
Copy of Certificate of Registration for Sales & Use Tax
Copies of all contracts with common carriers that will ship wine to Tennessee residents
Copy of the applicant’s organizational document (e.g. corporate charter or articles of organization)
A copy of applicant’s Federal Basic Permit
Tennessee direct shipping licenses expire December 31 of every year, and renewal applications must be postmarked by January 9 of the following year to avoid a $250 citation.
Licensed wineries can ship a maximum of one case per month and up to three cases annually to Tennessee residents. Retailers are still prohibited from direct shipping to Tennessee.
Tennessee, Kansas Open For Direct Shipping
Today, both Kansas and Tennessee open for direct shipping – the first two states to open in almost three years. These are the first states to change from Prohibited to Limited since Vermont in late 2006.
As of today, Kansas residents have direct access to up to twelve cases of wine per address from licensed wineries per year. Kansas special order direct shipping license applications are available online. After registering with the Secretary of State for $36, wineries must submit proof of business tax registration, a $50 license fee, a $50 application fee with their license application as well as post a $750 bond.
North Dakota Excise Tax Decreases
Beginning today, sparkling wine will be taxed at $0.50/gallon, down from $1.00/gallon.
Nevada State-Wide Sales Tax Increase
Effective July 1, Nevada has increased its Local School Support Tax from 2.25% to 2.6%; a 0.35% increase in state-wide sales tax. This new tax will be collected at a local level. Also, the 0.25% Collection Allowance, scheduled to increase back to 0.50%, remains in effect for sales and use taxes collected.
Local Tax Increases
The following local tax rates are effective today:
In Arizona, the city of Kearny has increased its retail and use tax rates from 2.5% to 3.0%
In California, voters in Los Angeles County approved a new 0.50% district tax increasing their tax rate to 9.75% (including the 8.25% state tax rate). Also, the City Council of Laguna Beach located in Orange County voted to repeal the 0.50% Temporary Transactions and Use Tax prior to its scheduled end date, lowering their tax rate to 8.75%
In Georgia, the counties of Camden, McIntosh and Wayne will increase their local tax rates by 1%, making the total local option tax 3.0%
In Washington, sales and use tax within all of Wahkiakum County will increase one-tenth of one percent. The new rate will be 7.6%
Ohio Electronic Filing
For Ohio Sales and Use tax semi-annual filers, the January – June return is the first return that is required to be filed online. There are two filing methods available to direct shippers to report Ohio sales taxes electronically:
Express Data Entry – Upload a .CSV to the Ohio Business Gateway (OBG), and make any final adjustments on the OBG’s website
eForms – Enter tax calculations step-by-step into Ohio’s web application
If you can’t decide which filing option is right for you, view a comparison of the different filing options (please note that TeleFile is not available for direct shippers). If you have any questions about the requirement, please visit Ohio’s Department of Taxation website, or call the Ohio DOT at 800-282-1784.
Late yesterday the Kansas ABC posted their applications for direct shipping on their website. Wine producers across the country can now apply for permission to direct ship wine to Kansas consumers effective July 1, 2009.
Kansas SB 212 was signed into law by Governor Kathleen Sebelius on April 10. Wineries interested in avoiding the hassle of the application process can purchase the license at www.easywinelicensing.com.
Licensed wineries will be able to ship up to 12 cases of wine per year to Kansas residents. To obtain a Kansas direct shipping license, wineries must pay a $50 license fee, a $50 registration fee, and post a $750 bond.
Tennessee will also open for direct shipping on July 1, although the paperwork has not yet been finalized. Tennessee’s license is available for pre-order pending the state’s posting.
Governor Phil Bredesen signed Senate Bill 166 into law today. With the passage of the bill, Tennessee will legally open its doors to winery direct shipping on July 1, 2009. Tennessee prohibited direct shipments from out-of-state wineries long before the landmark Granholm case. Even onsite shipments of wine were disallowed when the Attorney General issued an opinion on the matter in February 2009. Attempts to pass direct shipping legislation in the past years have failed, unaided by a Tennessee wholesaler campaign against the bills during the 2008 legislative session. However, with the Governor’s signature, in-state and out-of-state wineries alike now have access to Tennessee wine consumers. Direct shippers can expect to pay an annual license fee of $150 (an initial application fee of $300 is required for new applicants) and remit monthly sales and gallonage taxes. Some less positive aspects of the new laws include a 3 case annual shipping limit from a winery to a consumer and restrictions on who can obtain the direct shipper’s license—retailers, unfortunately, are among the excluded.
Although retailers will not be among those celebrating on July 1, the passage of SB 166 is a huge victory for many direct shippers. Governor Bredesen’s signature signals a radical change in the state’s stance on wine sold through the direct shipping channel: Tennessee is the first state to reverse its stance on direct shipments for wine since Vermont in 2006. The effective date of this legislation is less than a month away, however, there is no word, yet, on when all necessary forms will be available, so stay tuned.
Tennessee, one of 13 states that still bans direct-to-consumer shipping, took steps towards ending that association on April 13, 2009 when the Senate-approved Senate Bill 166, which allows direct shipments of wine. Currently, anyone who transports wine into Tennessee by bypassing the three-tier system is committing a felony (see Section 57-3-401.b of the Tennessee Code) an act that bill sponsor Senator Paul Stanley says is already widely committed. Due to this continuous violation of existing law, Senator Stanley calls SB 166 a “common-sense bill.” Senate Bill 166 requires out-of-state wineries to obtain a $300 licensenon-refundable application fee and $150 annual permit fee and also sets a shipping limit of 3 cases per calendar year per individual consumer.
During the Senate Committee hearings, there was lengthy questioning regarding enforcement mechanisms to ensure out-of-state wineries are in compliance. Senator Tim Burchett also voiced concerns about the lack of jurisdiction that the Tennessee Alcohol Beverage Commission has over out-of-state wineries, to which committee chair Senator Bill Ketron responded with a quote from Section 1.C.2 of the bill, which states that applicants must, “execute a consent to jurisdiction and venue of all actions… in the state of Tennessee.” Senator Ketron also noted other enforcement mechanisms such as a clause that makes direct shipping without a permit a Class (E) Felony. Primary Sponsor Senator Stanley addressed the doubts about enforcement and compliance by pointing to many other states that have successfully instituted and enforced direct shipping laws. In addition to mentioning the success of other direct-shipping states, bill supporters also noted that SB166 could bring in an estimated $10 million in additional annual revenue.
The approved version of the bill was passed in the Senate by a 22-8 margin with two amendments, imposed by the Senate Finance, Ways and Means committee. The first amendment reduced the total annual wine shipments allowed to one resident to 27-Liters from the original 108 Liters per year, with a one case per month limit. The second amendment was apparently inserted with no specific purpose except to appease the three-tier distribution system by stating that nothing in the direct shipping bill is meant to “diminish the three-tiered scheme.” The Senate-approved version of SB 166 also requires wineries to report the appropriate sales and gallonage taxes, and direct shippers must keep records of all shipments in case the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission requests such information. Now that the bill has moved through the Senate, it awaits discussion and approval by the House Government Operations Committee.
In February, Tennessee’s Attorney General chose to level-down by banning all direct-to-consumer shipments and transports of wine for personal use. Only two months later, however, the passage of SB 166 in the Senate demonstrates willingness to accommodate consumer demand by opening up the state to direct shipping.