Massachusetts, Key Legislative Updates Highlighted at 9th Annual Wine Compliance Virtual Seminar

–For Immediate Release–

Virtual seminar addresses wine shipping rule changes and new reporting innovations for wineries.

Boulder, Colo. — On Tuesday, November 11, ShipCompliant, the leading compliance provider for wine, spirits and beer producers, will hold its 9th annual Direct Shipping Virtual Seminar for wineries. Attendees will learn about recent legislative and regulatory changes affecting wine shipping as well as the newest innovations to help wineries streamline reporting. This year’s seminar also includes best practices for end of year reporting. The online seminar is open free of charge to all members of the wine industry.

“The opening of Massachusetts represents the most significant opportunity for direct shippers since Granholm.” said Jeff Carroll, ShipCompliant’s Vice President of Product. “The new rules, requirements, and the status of common carrier licensing will be covered on Tuesday.”

The seminar will take place at 10:00am PST. Hundreds of wine industry representatives attend this seminar each year. ShipCompliant recommends wine club managers, heads of marketing and hospitality, compliance managers, shipping department managers, winery owners, and third party marketers all attend the seminar.

Online registration for the ShipCompliant Virtual Seminar is available now.

About ShipCompliant
Founded in 2002 and located in Boulder, Colorado, ShipCompliant is a leader in automated alcohol beverage compliance services. ShipCompliant provides wine and spirits suppliers and importers with a full suite of web-based software tools to ensure compliance with federal and state regulations for direct and wholesale distribution. ShipCompliant works with the industry’s leading software providers and fulfillment companies to provide fully integrated solutions for direct and three-tier distribution. For more information, please visit: www.shipcompliant.com.

Media Contact
Jeff Carroll
Jeff (at) ShipCompliant (dot) com
(303) 996-2343

Ship or Distribute to Indiana? Here’s How to Meet Their New Requirements

Starting with the October filing period, Indiana requires all alcohol beverage companies working in Indiana to electronically remit monthly excise tax returns and shipment reports. This method for electronic filing and payment is unique to Indiana and does not exist in any other state report.

ShipCompliant will be holding several webinars over the coming weeks to help you navigate these new requirements.

Click here to attend a webinar or sign up for a consultation.

The new Indiana report will be filed automatically for ShipCompliant AutoFile users. All other filers can use the summarized actions below to meet the new Indiana requirements.

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Step 1: Register with Indiana’s Excise Tax and Bulk Filing Departments

  • Send an email request to Excisetax@dor.in.gov with your FID/FEIN, to obtain your new Alcohol Beverage TID#
  • To register with Indiana’s Bulk Filing Department, send an email request to bulkfiler@dor.in.gov for a certificate of registration.

Step 2: Download and install the following software needed to E-File

Step 3: Generate two test .xml files and send to Indiana via the above noted software programs

Step 4: Set-up electronic payments

  • Electronic Payment set-up is required for those liable for paying taxes, such as wine direct shippers
  • Register for electronic payment at www.in.gov/dor/3976.htm
    Submit a test payment of $0.01 to PNC Bank

If you want the full set of instructions on Indiana electronic filing start by visiting the Indiana Department of Revenue FAQ page, or contact the department via the information provided on the FAQ page for more info.

And if this all too much for you to complete by the November due date (during one of the busiest times in the year), have no fear. If you are unable to successfully submit your report through this new bulk-filing process in November, Indiana will accept a paper version of the report for this month only.

Want to avoid the hassle of reporting to Indiana altogether? Sign up for ShipCompliant AutoFile and let us worry about completing the above steps for you. Learn more about AutoFile today!

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

Expansion of Allowable Label Revisions by TTB Helps Industry

Last week TTB expanded the list of Allowable Revisions to Approved Alcohol Beverage Labels within the Industry Circular 2014-02. These minor changes come after a major effort last year to reduce the number of new label submissions from domestic suppliers. You can read more about the first change in this blog post. Previously approved labels with new changes that fall within the list of allowable revisions, both existing and the below additions, do not need to be approved again. This topic will also be discussed at the 1st Annual ShipCompliant Wholesale Gathering in White Plains, NY on October 16th.

You May… Comments
29. Delete or change promotional sponsorship-themed graphics, logos, artwork, dates, event locations and/or other sponsorship-related information (e.g., sports leagues, team organizations, annual sporting events, and annual or semi-annual festivals). If authorization by a third party was required for use of such promotional sponsorship-themed information on a label when first approved, it is the responsibility of the industry member to have any necessary documentation of authorization to cover the revisions to the approved label(s).
30. Add, delete, or change a label or sticker that provides information about a rating or recognition provided by an organization (e.g., “Recognized as one of the top values in vodka by x Magazine” or “Rated as the best 2012 wine by x Association”), as long as the rating or recognition reflects simply the opinion of the organization and does not make a specific substantive claim about the product or its competitors. These statements or graphics must not conflict with or qualify any mandatory information and must comply with all applicable laws and regulations.  Substantive claims about the product or its competitors are not covered by this exemption.
31. Delete all organic references from the label. If you choose to delete one organic claim on a label on which you have received approval to make organic claims, then all organic claims, references, and certification statements must be deleted on the revised label.  The deletion of individual references or certification statements is not permitted without a new COLA.
32. Change an approved sulfite statement to any of these options: “Contains Sulfites,” “Contains (a) Sulfiting Agent(s),” “Contains [name of specific sulfating agent],”“Contains Naturally Occurring and Added Sulfites,” or “Contains Naturally Occurring Sulfites.”“Sulphites” may be used in lieu of “Sulfites.” A sulfite statement is required when sulfur dioxide or a sulfiting agent is detected at a level of 10 or more parts per million, measured as total sulfur dioxide. The statement used must accurately reflect all of the sulfur dioxide or sulfiting agent(s) present in the alcohol beverage. For wine:  Any other variation of the statement or removal of the statement requires a lab analysis. For sulfite waivers, the proprietor must have proof of sample analysis from a TTB-certified laboratory or from the TTB Compliance Laboratory.
33. Add, delete, or change information about the number of bottles that were “made,” “produced,” “brewed,” or “distilled” in a batch; respectively. Example:  “100 bottles produced.”
34. Add certain instructional statements to the label(s) about how best to consume or serve the product.  Only the statements listed in the comments section may be added. Only the following statements are approved to be added to a label:“Refrigerate After Opening”“Do Not Store In Direct Sunlight”,“Best If Frozen For ___ to ___ Hours”, “Shake Well”, “Pour Over Ice”, “Best When Chilled”, “Best Served Chilled”, “Serve Chilled”, “Serve at Room Temperature”

Wine: Managing sulfite and organic statements are much less stringent. (8,027 approved wine labels in September 2014)

Malt: Adding or removing those treasured “Beer Festival” recognitions on labels will no longer require a new label. (708 approved malt labels in September 2014)

Spirits: Small batch whiskey information can be more dynamic on versions of the label. And, the growing interest in organic spirits will help TTB and suppliers be more efficient. (1,286 approved spirits labels in September 2014)

For more information, you may view the complete list of allowable revisions here. Thus far, TTB has approved 90,749 new COLAs this year, with 10,267 in September alone. Keep an eye on newly approved COLAs by clicking here.