Massachusetts DTC Applications – How to Get Started

As ShipCompliant reported earlier this week, the new Direct Wine Shipper License application and advisory were released over this past weekend. The new permit law replaces the existing unworkable direct shipping law in its entirety. See the previous post to read more about how the new laws, in effect starting January 1, 2015, apply to wineries.

It is expected to take approximately four weeks for applications to be approved. Wineries may NOT engage in any “sales activities” prior to January 1, 2015. (or their license is approved.) Both the Direct Wine Shipper License application and Direct Wine Shipper License Advisory are available on the Wine Institute, ShipCompliant, and Massachusetts Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission (ABCC) websites. Below please find instructions on how to complete the application process. Questions about the application requirements can be directed to Ralph Sacramone of the ABCC at 617-727-3040 ext. 731 or to Annie Bones at abones@wineinstitute.org.

MASSACHUSETTS NEW DIRECT WINE SHIPPER LICENSE APPLICATION INSTRUCTIONS
Step 1: Register with the Department of Revenue to Pay Sales and Excise Taxes

  • Go to MassTax Connect to Register and Pay Excise Taxes (note the date of registration as you will need to enter this on the DTC application.)

Step 2: Application for a Direct Shipper Wine License (effective 1/1/2015)
Part 1 – Applicant Information and Legal Structure

  • Attach vote by the Board of Directors or LLC Managers appointing a manager or principal representative
  • Articles of Organization as filed with the Secretary of State’s Office

Part 2 – Licenses to Manufacture and Export Wine

  • List and attach a copy of your California 02 Winegrower license

Part 3 – Federal Compliance

  • List and attach a copy of your TTB Basic Permit Number
  • List and attach a copy of your FDA Registration

Part 4 – Tax Registration

  • Enter the date that you registered with the MA Department of Revenue to pay sales and excise taxes

Part 5 – Interests in this License

  • All of the limited partners must be listed

Parts 6-8

  • Follow the application’s instructions and provide affidavit(s) if necessary

Part 9 – Previously Held Interests in Other Licenses

  • All of previously held interests must be listed

Part 10 – Transportation and Delivery

  • FedEx Ground should be listed. FedEx Express and UPS are not licensed to deliver DTC wine shipments to MA consumers at this time. The application can be updated by letter if FedEx Express, UPS or any other common carrier enters the market and intend to use their services.

Part 11 – Proof of Age for Sale to Consumers

  • The Code for Direct Shipping Guidelines (http://freethegrapes.org/code-for-direct-shipping) recommends that direct shippers verify the purchaser’s age at the point of online purchase using an approved age verification vendor, such as LexisNexis or IDology.

Part 12 – Proof of Age for Delivery to Consumers
FedEx Ground Control Processes for Alcohol Shipments: FedEx Ground requires Alcohol Shippers to sign a special contract addendum outlining labeling and information requirements

  • Shippers must use FedEx® ShipManager electronic shipping solutions or an approved third-party system
  • Shippers must enter a unique identifier – $AW, in the “Your Reference” field for all wine shipments
  • Shippers must select Adult Signature Service as a condition of delivery of the shipment
  • All wine packages must be labeled with a FedEx approved alcohol label
  • An Adult Signature Service “code” is embedded in the unique bar code tracking ID
  • Delivery scanners alert drivers of the adults signature requirement at point of delivery scan
  • If no eligible recipient is at the address, the scanner prompts driver to apply the proper status code and reattempt delivery at a later time/date
  • FedEx will obtain a signature from any person at least 21 years old (government-issued photo identification required) at the delivery address
  • Part 13

    • Follow the application’s instructions

    Step 3: Direct Wine Shipper License Application Checklist

    • Check payable to ABCC or Commonwealth of MA for $300
    • Transmittal Form
    • Completed Application
    • Articles of Organization as filed with the Secretary of State’s Office
    • Vote by the Board of Directors or LLC Managers appointing a manager or principal representative
    • A copy of your California 02 Winegrower license
    • A copy of your Federal Basic Permit
    • A copy of your FDA Registration

    Send to:
    Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission
    P.O. Box 3396
    Boston, MA 02241-3396

    Annie Bones, State Relations – Wine Institute

    New Direct-to-Consumer Shipping Requirements in Maine

    Wineries licensed to ship to Maine consumers now have fewer reports to file each year. Maine recently amended its direct-to-consumer law to require that direct shippers file excise tax returns and shipment reports once a year. Unlike the quarterly reporting periods which were based on the calendar year, the annual reporting period corresponds to the license year. The filing deadline for annual reports is the 30th day of the month immediately following the annual expiration date of the direct shipping license. Licensees are required to report the total gallons of wine shipped to Maineconsumers during the license year, with the exception of the first annual report which will cover all shipments made from July 1, 2014 through the end of the license year.

    The total volume of shipments from a direct shipper to any one recipient address in Maine continues to be 12 cases per calendar year. The Maine Bureau of Alcoholic Beverages & Lottery Operations (BABLO) is in the process of notifying wineries currently licensed to ship to Maine consumers of the transition from quarterly to annual reporting periods. Direct Shipper Excise Tax Returns and Report of Wine Shipment Forms have been updated to reflect the new filing schedule and can be accessed on the BABLO and Wine Institute websites.

    Annie Bones
    State Relations – Wine Institute
    abones@wineinstitute.org

    2015 Alcohol License Renewal Season Begins in Georgia

    The Georgia Department of Revenue recently announced that existing licensees can now renew their alcohol license for 2015 via their Georgia Tax Center (GTC) account. Renewals must be completed online using the GTC before the end of the calendar year.  Wineries renewing a Manufacturer of Wine, Farm Winery or Broker license are required to submit a $5000 bond that is valid for 2015. Please note that the renewal process cannot be completed until after the bond is uploaded to the licensee’s GTC account.

    Georiga DORAdditionally, any alcohol licensee that has not yet submitted a Citizenship Affidavit and copy of a Secure and Verifiable Document must provide this information at the time of renewal. For more information about how to file for renewal via your GTC account, click here.

    Annie Bones, State Relations – Wine Institute

    Arkansas Confirms Direct Shippers Only Responsible for Statewide Taxes

    As wineries were applying for and beginning to use the new DTC shipping licenses for on-site sales to Arkansas consumers, we learned that some of the staff in the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration were telling holders of direct wine shipper licenses that they were responsible for collecting certain local sales and use taxes. Wine Institute’s local Arkansas counsel has received a legal opinion from the Assistant Commissioner of Revenue, Policy and Legal of the Department of Finance and Administration stating that holders of a wine shipping permit are not required to collect any local taxes. Direct shippers are responsible for collecting and remitting only the statewide sales and excise taxes.

    Wineries can register and file reports online through the Arkansas Taxpayer Access Point on the Department’s website at www.arkansas.gov/dfa or manually prepare and mail in the required forms. The state gross receipts (sales) tax rate is 6.5%, in addition to a state liquor excise tax that is 3% of the sales price. Direct shippers are also responsible for paying the $0.75 per gallon wine excise tax and a $.05 wine case excise tax. If the volume of wine being reported is less than one case of wine, round up. Sales and excise taxes must be reported on a monthly basis even if no activity occurred.

    Annie Bones, State Relations – Wine Institute

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    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.