Untangling the complex world of wine direct shipping and compliance
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    Wine & Spirit Suppliers to Arkansas Must Register Products by End of Year

    December 16th, 2013
    By Sarah Fine - ShipCompliant Research Team

    With passage of HB 1480 (now titled “Act 1105“), the state of Arkansas is requiring that all wine and spirits suppliers actively distributing wine and spirits into the state must register each distributed product with the state. Wine & spirits products (beer is not required) currently in distribution must be registered by December 31 and all registration takes place on-line.

    The state fee for on-line product registration is $20/label. Suppliers can no longer send the “Manufacturer’s Request for Brand Registration or Change of Wholesaler” form in a paper format. This is now done on-line.

    How to Register Your Currently Distributed Products:

    1. Visit Arkansas’ Electronic Registrations Website
    2. Have a list of your actively distributed COLA numbers, names of your Arkansas distributors, and any brand owner authorization letters if the registrant is not the owner of the brand being registered with the state
    3. Payment is via credit card

    Through December 31, 2013, suppliers may download an excel spreadsheet of their COLAs by Federal Basic Permit Number. Labels will initially be approved directly upon completion of workflow process. The state will review incoming registration to ensure non-violation of sole source requirements and other rules and regulations.

    IMPORTANT:
    -All currently active products must be registered by December 31
    -Product registrations are valid through June 30, 2014
    -Label Registration status can be verified by COLA Number
    -Newly distributed products may be registered beginning January 1, 2014

    Feel free to ask any questions you may have about Arkansas product registration on this blog post and we will answer them as quickly as possible.


    Connecticut Wants You to File Sales Tax Online in 2014

    December 4th, 2013
    By Jessamyn Boltz - ShipCompliant Research Team

    Wine direct shippers doing business in Connecticut will be required to report and pay sales tax due for all filing frequencies beginning on or after January 1, 2014. This mandate affects direct wine shippers because sales tax remittance is a requirement of their direct shipping license in Connecticut. Currently most shippers file both their sales tax and excise tax returns for Connecticut via paper. After January 1, 2014, however, only excise tax should be remitted via paper mailings. Specific details on this eFile mandate may be found in Informational Publication 2013(15), but below are a few notable details to get filers prepared for this change.

    New e-filing sales tax filers have two options to file sales tax returns: via telephone at 860-289-4829, or via the TSC Online website. Taxpayers need their “Connecticut Tax Registration Number” and PIN or information from a previously filed return to log on to the TSC website. Both of these options allow for sales tax to be paid along with filing the return. Sales tax filers may remit payment via ACH debit (recommended), ACH credit (pre-registration required) or by a credit card (convenience fee assessed). For specific details on each of these payment options please refer to the publication noted above.

    Any sales tax filer that would like to begin filing sales tax online now is allowed to do so; simply choose one of the above options to file and pay sales tax for the last tax return of 2013.


    Will Massachusetts Lawmakers Finally Act?

    November 11th, 2013
    By Jeff Carroll - VP of Compliance, ShipCompliant

    In January of 2010, the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit affirmed the judgment of the District Court in the case of Family Winemakers of California v. Jenkins. This ruling struck down the 30,000 gallon capacity cap, which excluded 98% of domestic wines from shipment to Massachusetts. Although this represented a big win for wineries, several problems remained, and it was up to the Massachusetts legislature to act.

    Almost four years later, Bay State lawmakers will once again try to craft a replacement law and move it through the legislature. The first and most important step is a public hearing on Direct Wine Shipping in Massachusetts to be held in Boston on Tuesday, November 12 at 1pm Eastern Time in the Joint Committee on Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure.

    Bill H.294, sponsored by Representative Ted Speliotis, is one of five bills related to direct shipping listed in the hearing schedule. It would allow wineries to ship up to 24 cases per year to individual consumers in Massachusetts, require annual volume reporting to the state and remittance of excise and sales taxes to the state.

    One key issue that must be addressed to make any direct shipping law effective is that of a “fleet permit” for common carriers. A fleet permit allows common carriers like FedEx and UPS to obtain a single permit for alcohol deliveries that covers all their trucks in the state, in contrast to regulations that require a permit be obtained for each and ever delivery truck. Without a fleet permit as part of a direct shipping bill, it is unlikely that the major common carriers would deliver wine into Massachusetts no matter how good the rest of the bill might be.

    Additionally, the current direct shipping law on the books has a “consumer aggregate” volume limit, which allows consumers to only receive a limited amount of wine within a calendar year from all sources. This kind of aggregate limit is mostly un-workable, as wineries have little idea what consumers have already received. The aggregate volume limit is not included in H.294.

    Behind Pennsylvania (population 12,702,379), Massachusetts (6,547,629) is the second largest of nine states that are currently off limits for wine shipments. The other states include Alabama (4,779,736), Kentucky (4,339,367), Oklahoma (3,751,351), Mississippi (2,967,297), Utah (2,763,885), Delaware (897,934), and South Dakota (814,180).

    Additional Resources:
    Free the Grapes! Press Release
    Huge win for wineries, but can I ship to Massachusetts now?
    Why Can’t I Have a Boston Wine Party?
    Massachusetts Remains Elusive for Direct Shippers


    Idaho Offers Less Frequent Reporting for Wine Direct Shippers

    October 31st, 2013
    By Jessamyn Boltz - ShipCompliant Research Team

    Monthly filings in 40+ states can be quite a burden, especially for suppliers who don’t have significant sales every month in every state. Idaho has recognized over the years that wine direct shippers generally do not have significant sales every month and is reaching out to licensed wine direct shippers letting them know they may be eligible to file the “Idaho Form 1752 Wine Wholesalers, Wineries and Wine Direct Shippers Tax Return” and/or the “Idaho Form 850 Sales and Use Tax Return” on a less frequent basis. This eligibility is dependent on requirements outlined in the Idaho Administrative Rules:
    Idaho

    • Monthly tax filers liable for the Idaho wine or sales taxes who owe $600 or less per quarter and have a satisfactory record of timely filing/payment of their taxes may request to file quarterly or semi-annually.
    • Monthly tax filers liable for the Idaho wine or sales taxes who have seasonal activities and have a satisfactory record of timely filing/payment of their taxes may request to file annually.

    Any licensed wine direct shipper that files either or both of these returns on a monthly basis and falls under the criteria noted above may submit a request for a less frequent filing preference by sending an email to meaghan.mccandlish@tax.idaho.gov or writing a letter to:

    Meaghan McCandlish
    Unit: RO/PAS
    Idaho State Tax Commission
    PO Box 76
    Boise, Idaho 83707-0076

    You must receive confirmation of approval by the Idaho State Tax Commission before you may begin filing at a less frequent reporting frequency. Also, if you are approved to switch from monthly to quarterly in the next two months, the soonest you may begin filing quarterly would be for the quarter beginning January 2014 and you would still need to file a monthly reports for the last months of 2013.

    Please note, wine suppliers that only sell to Idaho distributors and do not partake in any direct-to-consumer sales with Idaho do not need to submit Form 1752 to the State Tax Commission.


    FedEx will (not) continue delivering wine shipments to North Dakota

    October 17th, 2013
    By Jeff Carroll - VP of Compliance, ShipCompliant

    Update 10/22/2013: FedEx will halt shipments to North Dakota effective immediately. Official statement from FedEx below.

    This communication is to confirm that FedEx Express, FedEx Ground and FedEx Home Delivery will cease transporting alcoholic beverages destined to an address in North Dakota effective immediately. FedEx has been unable to arrive at a solution that would allow compliance with the new law while protecting our customers’ shipping experience.

    Despite their previous notices to wineries that FedEx will stop shipping to North Dakota consumers effective 11/1, FedEx will continue to ship while they are in discussions with state officials on the new requirements. Official statement from FedEx below:
    “As of today, October 17th, 2013 FedEx and officials from the State of North Dakota are in continuing discussions about keeping the state open for shipments by licensed DTC shippers. We have been informed, that for the time being, those holding the required permits will be allowed to continue to process shipments via FedEx into the state past the previously announced stop date of November 1, 2013.”