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2018 Federal Budget Legislation Provides Breweries with Administrative Relief and Acknowledges 21st Amendment

Two sections of Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act (CBMTRA) that were dropped from the 2017 federal tax reform law were subsequently added to the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, signed into law by President Trump on February 9, 2018.

The new law mandates a temporary (two year) change in tax recordkeeping requirements for domestic breweries to eliminate duplicate reports and accounting obligations for breweries that have pub and sampling areas. The intent of the new law is to allow brewers to keep one set of books covering (a) beer removed from brewery for sale for distribution to retailers and (b) beer sold or provided for sampling to consumers at a brewery. Existing regulations and policies led to unnecessary complexity in accounting for brewers and for auditors from the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB). While the recordkeeping changes are required for calendar years 2018 and 2019, TTB may be able to make changes in regulations and policies that will provide permanent relief from unnecessary administrative burdens.

A second provision included in the 2018 Budget Act is a “rule of construction” that the CBMTRA does not “preempt, supersede, or otherwise limit or restrict any State, local, or tribal law that prohibits or regulates the production or sale of distilled spirits, wine, or malt beverages.”

The new section of law essentially restates the purpose of Section 2 of the 21st Amendment to the US Constitution, which states, “The transportation or importation into any State, Territory, or possession of the United States for delivery or use therein of intoxicating liquors, in violation of the laws thereof, is hereby prohibited.”

© 2018 McDermott Will & Emery

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About this Author

Arthur J. DeCelle, alcohol beverage regulation attorney, McDermott Will law firm
Counsel

Arthur J. DeCelle is counsel in the law firm of McDermott Will & Emery LLP and is based in the Firm’s Washington, D.C., office.  He focuses his practice on alcohol beverage regulation at all levels of government and on legal and public policy challenges facing heavily regulated industries.

Prior to joining McDermott, Art was the general counsel of the Beer Institute for 16 years.  From 1981 to 1984, Art held senior staff positions in the U.S. House of Representatives and worked on several federal political campaigns....

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