Untangling the complex world of wine direct shipping and compliance
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    FedEx to Halt Shipments to North Dakota

    October 15th, 2013
    By Jeff Carroll - VP of Compliance, ShipCompliant

    FedEx will stop shipping wine to North Dakota, effective November 1st. Please see below for a statement from FedEx sent to Wine Institute members.

    Due to recent changes in North Dakota law, FedEx Express, FedEx Ground and FedEx Home Delivery will cease transporting shipments containing alcoholic beverages to and within the state of North Dakota, Effective November 1st, 2013. After that date, packages containing alcoholic beverages destined for a North Dakota address will be Returned to Shipper. We will provide further information to members in the event of future changes.”
    ShipCompliant Direct users will see a “Carrier Prohibited” rule in their account effective on November 1st. This will result in a failed compliance check for any shipments with a FedEx carrier service code destined for North Dakota consumers.

    To learn more about the recent changes in North Dakota, as well as new laws in Montana, Nebraska, and Arkansas, please attend our free Direct Sales Virtual Seminar on Thursday, October 17th at 10:00 PT.


    TTB Halts Regulatory Functions

    October 1st, 2013
    By Jeff Carroll - VP of Compliance, ShipCompliant

    As a result of the government shutdown, TTB has halted regulatory functions. Licensees will not be able to access COLAs Online, Permits Online, or Formulas Online. This also means that ShipCompliant’s integration with COLAs Online will not be available during the shutdown. As soon as appropriations are made available, TTB will work on restoring these functions and we will enable the integration shortly thereafter. Please see the notice that TTB posted on their website below.

    APPROPRIATIONS LAPSE NOTICE
    CESSATION OF TTB OPERATIONS
    WITH LIMITED ACCESS TO WWW.TTB.GOV

    Due to the lapse in government funding, only web sites supporting excepted functions will be updated unless otherwise funded. Our TTB web site, www.ttb.gov, will be available during this shutdown period and you will continue to be able to file electronic payments and returns for federal excise taxes and operational reports through https://www.pay.gov/paygov/.

    However, there will be no access to TTB’s eGovernment applications including, but not limited to, Permits Online, Formulas Online, and COLAs online. Other information on the web site may not be up to date, and TTB will not be able to respond to questions or comments submitted via the web site until appropriations are enacted.

    TTB will suspend all non-excepted TTB operations, and no personnel will be available to respond to any inquiries, including emails, telephone calls, facsimiles, or other communications. The web site and operations will fully resume when appropriations are reenacted. TTB has directed employees NOT to report to work and they are prohibited by federal law from volunteering their services during a lapse in appropriations.

    Once funding has been restored, and the government shutdown is over, we will work to restore regular service as soon as possible.


    The COLA Conundrum

    September 30th, 2013
    By Jeff Carroll - VP of Compliance, ShipCompliant

    On the issue of Certificates of Label Approval (COLAs), the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) is finding itself caught between a rock and a hard place. The rock is their funding, including dwindling budgets each year, and concerns over furloughs, government shutdowns, and long term sequestration given an inept and unpredictable Congress. The hard place is an industry that is pumping more and more products into the marketplace and a need to get products to market quickly because of a dizzying pace of innovation.

    The result of this squeeze is longer approval times for new COLA applications. Even though TTB has made great strides and a substantial number of changes to streamline the COLA filing process, current COLA processing times are 38 days for distilled spirits labels, 12 days for malt beverage labels, and 25 days for wine labels.

    TTB has also signaled that they would like to make even more changes to the COLA process. As we discussed on a panel at the National Conference of State Liquor Administrators (NCSLA) Annual Conference this summer in Hawaii, TTB would like to continue to explore substantial ways to overhaul the label pre-approval process, including potentially moving to a “deemed-approved” process with automated decisions for certain eligible labels and a shift to marketplace enforcement. These potential changes could have a big impact on the 30+ states that have label approval laws as well as suppliers, wholesalers, retailers, and vendors. Many states would need to revise their statutes, change their regulations, and/or revisit their policies and processes if the changes move forward.

    We’re going to hold a follow-up “part 2″ to the COLA panel at the NCSLA Regional Conference in Atlantic City on October 12th. I’ll also touch on these issues during the regulatory roundup section at our annual Direct Sales Virtual Seminar on October 17th.

    We want to hear from you! If you have any feedback, comments, or questions, please email them to COLApanel@shipcompliant.com . If you are a state administrator, and you haven’t yet completed our label registration survey, please do so in advance of the panel on October 12th by clicking here. Our goal is to have an open, collaborative discussion on this important topic and would love to have as much input as possible.


    2013 Wine Compliance Legislative Updates and a Virtual Seminar Invitation

    September 30th, 2013
    By Jessamyn Boltz - ShipCompliant Research Team

    You may remember reading our posts highlighting what to look for in the legislative season back at the beginning of 2013. Now that many legislative sessions are starting to come to a close, here is a quick check-in on this year’s legislative changes, all of which will be addressed in detail at the ShipCompliant Direct Wine Sales Virtual Seminar, scheduled for October 17th. Reserve your spot today for a complete update on the 2013 wine direct shipping world.

    How did the Direct Shipping Bills Stack Up?

    Pennsylvania and Massachusetts were the headlining states this year once again when it comes to opening up new states to direct shipping. Although neither state passed a bill prior to the summer recess, legislatures are back in session in both states and direct shipping remains a possibility.

    Montana HB 402 will become law tomorrow (Tuesday October 1, 2013), effectively replacing the wine connoisseur’s license with a direct shipping “endorsement” available to Montana wineries and to out-of-state wineries holding a Foreign Winery License. Check out our previous blog post for more detailed information on obtaining this endorsement.

    Arkansas Act 483, originally HB 1749, opened up limited direct shipping to the “Natural State” for wineries. The state is still finalizing how they will regulate this new law, which took effect mid-August, but this previous post provides a detailed summary of the Act.

    Streamlined COLA Processing

    The TTB continues to revamp their website and accept feedback from the industry. Review the status of the COLA Streamlining Accomplishments and Long-term Initiatives on the TTB website.

    Existing Direct Shipping Laws, Reworked

    Nebraska LB 230 passed and became effective on September 6, 2013. We highlighted the details on the bill that adds new restrictions to the wine direct shipping process.

    North Dakota SB 2147 created two new licenses that will allow for wine direct shippers to utilize licensed common carriers and fulfillment houses. This bill took effect August 1, 2013.

    Product Registration Updates

    In Arkansas, HB 1480 became effective mid-August, and beginning October 15 suppliers will be able to register their products online under the new requirements outlined in this bill.

    Reserve your spot today for a complete legislative update and more during the ShipCompliant Direct Wine Sales Virtual Seminar!


    Q3 2013: Big Sales Tax Reporting Updates this October for Direct Wine Shippers

    September 30th, 2013
    By Jessamyn Boltz - ShipCompliant Research Team

    October 1 marks the end of the third calendar reporting quarter for 2013. Chances are, those responsible for remitting tax and shipment reports for the wine direct shipping part of the business are already prepping for the third major reporting month of the year. There are several notable sales tax rate and reporting changes affecting businesses who are licensed to direct ship wine in these states. We would like to shed additional light on these updates for our readers, here.

    • Ohio State Sales Tax Rate Increased 9/1/2013 – Semi-Annual filers should expect to report a “pre” and “post” rate change within all localities sold to in the latter half of 2013.
    • Maine State Sales Tax Rate Increases 10/1/2013 – All sales tax filers should expect an increase in the state tax rate this October 1. Semi-Annual and Annual filers should also know that they will need to remit twice this reporting period, with the first report due October 15, 2013. See our blog post for more information on the state’s unique solution to accommodate the 2013 state sales tax rate change.
    • Virginia State Sales Tax Rate Increased 7/1/2013 – Sales tax filers saw an increase in all localities this past July. Quarterly filers should be aware of an updated return to accommodate these new rates – Monthly filers have already been remitting at these new rates.
    • Arizona State Sales Tax Rate Decreased 6/1/2013 – Monthly and Quarterly filers have already been reporting at the new lower rates, but Annual filers should anticipate needing to report “pre” and “post” rate changes within several localities for their end-of-year reporting.

    While the above noted tax rate updates are not the only recent tax changes, they are some of the more significant changes. Tax filers, specifically filers on less frequent reporting periods, should be sensitive to them. All tax rate and report updates have already been accommodated for in ShipCompliant. All filers should keep in mind – after October, the next big reporting month will be end-of-year reporting in January 2014 – it is a good idea to review your order data now to ensure a smooth reporting process at the beginning of the new year.