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TTB Steps Up Amid Crisis - Postpones Excise Tax Filing and Payment Dates

We all know that alcoholic beverage retailers have been hit hard by COVID-19, but so have alcoholic beverage manufacturers. Reduced retail sales translate to reduced manufacturer sales (particularly draught beer). By now you have certainly heard about the CARES Act, where the federal government will be providing aid and incentives to many small businesses. The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (“TTB”) is doing its part by extending filing and payment deadlines on excise taxes.

Exercising the authority delegated to it pursuant to the Internal Revenue Code, the TTB announced the postponement of excise tax filing and payment due dates for 90 days if the original due date falls between March 1, 2020, and July 1, 2020. The postponement applies to any person who has an obligation to submit an excise tax payment for beer, wine, or spirits, as the TTB Acting Director has made the blanket determination that all such persons are being affected by COVID-19.

Due Dates for Paying Excise Taxes Postponed 90 Days

Effective immediately, all due dates to paying federal excise taxes on wine, beer, and distilled spirits, are postponed 90 days from the original due date. The postponement is applicable to any tax payment with an original due date falling between March 1, 2020, and July 1, 2020. Interest and penalties will not accrue if payments are made within 90 days of the original due date. Note that the postponement does not apply to any other tax. Federal excise taxes on imported products are not covered by the postponement

Due Dates for Filing Excise Tax Returns Postponed 90 Days

Effective immediately, all due dates to file federal excise tax returns are postponed for 90 days from the original due date. The postponement is applicable to any tax return with an original due date falling between March 1, 2020, and July 1, 2020. Penalties that would otherwise accrue for failing to timely file will not accrue if the returns are filed within 90 days of the original due date. The new excise tax return due dates are as follows:

Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) Coronavirus (COVID-19) Postponed Filing and Payment Due Dates

Due Dates for Filing Operational Reports Postponed 90 Days

Due dates for submitting operational reports (which are filed monthly, quarterly, or annually depending on the size and type of operations) are pushed back 90 days as well for reports due between March 1, 2020, and July 1, 2020. The new operational report due dates are as follows:

Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) Coronavirus (COVID-19) Operational Report Due Dates

Claims for Credit or Refund by Producers Extended 90 Days

Under the Internal Revenue Code, producers have six months to file claims for certain credits or refunds of federal excise taxes paid on distilled spirits, wine, and beer (such as claims for credit or refund of excise taxes paid on alcohol products returned to the premises of the producer). This filing deadline is extended for 90 days for any claim where the due date falls between March 1, 2020, and July 1, 2020. The TTB is encouraging industry members to submit claims through the TTB’s electronic online submission form. The TTB has advised it will continue to process credit and refund claims.

Emergency Variations From Regulatory Requirements

The TTB has advised that it will consider further measures to help affected industry members whose concerns are not addressed by the above. For example, those businesses subject to a shelter-in-place order may submit applications to use reasonable alternate methods and procedures to resume or continue their operations. Applications will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

Additional TTB Relief

For those industry members who are subject to penalties despite the postponement of payment and filing due dates described above, they may seek additional relief by demonstrating reasonable cause.

Deferred excise tax payments will be a welcomed reprieve for many of the alcoholic beverage industry members who are trying to loosen the financial stranglehold caused by COVID-19. Unfortunately, the TTB does not have the authority to forgive excise tax liabilities as that remains within the province of Congress and the President. Also, the TTB continues to effectively manage all online filing, including COLAs and formula applications. We received several approvals just this week.

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About this Author

Andrew D. Linden Litigation Attorney Norris McLaughlin Law Firm New Jersey
Member

Andrew D. Linden focuses his practice on litigating and resolving business disputes, representing clients in the alcoholic beverage and cannabis industries, and providing general business law advice.

Andrew handles complex commercial litigation matters such as shareholder disputes in closely-held companies, landlord/tenant actions, products liability and warranty claims, breach of contract actions, construction claims, and property tax appeals.

Andrew counsels alcoholic beverage manufacturers, wholesalers, and retailers...

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Theodore Zeller Attorney Norris Law Firm
Member

Theodore J. Zeller III has extensive experience in liquor law, regulatory licensing, commercial transactions, real estate transactions, and litigation.

Chair of the firm’s Liquor Law Practice Group, Ted was lead counsel in a beer rights case brought against the world’s largest brewers and is now General Counsel to D.G. Yuengling & Son, Inc.

Ted’s lobbying efforts helped change various laws under the Pennsylvania Liquor Code. In 2010, Ted testified before the Senate Law and Justice Committee on behalf of Yuengling Brewery concerning House Bill 291, which addresses the distribution of brewed beverages in Pennsylvania.

In 2011, Ted authored portions of two different bills that were enacted into law.  The bills helped small brewers by allowing more efficient and cost effective brand registration, as well as altered the package laws for brewery licenses.  He also appeared before the House Liquor Committee with the Brewers of Pennsylvania in the Privatization Hearings. Most recently, his efforts helped change brewery regulations to allow for taprooms and he authored the Malt Beverage Tax Excise Credit legislation. Further, he has written extensively about Acts 39 and 166.

Ted counsels clients on the acquisition of liquor licenses and coordinates liquor license transactions with other practice areas, such as real estate, business law, financing, tax law, intellectual property, and litigation.  Known throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, he also represents beer interests on a national level and advises breweries and wholesalers on state regulatory matters involving beer distribution and franchise laws. He regularly prepares distribution agreements for his clients and coordinates state and federal licensing for manufacturing and national distribution.

Ted has tried multiple cases in county and federal court, including jury trials, and hundreds of cases before arbitration panels, district justices, and administrative law judges. He is a member of the Pennsylvania Cider Guild and is General Counsel to the Brewers of Pennsylvania and represents alcohol interests in every category. Ted has helped numerous start-up breweries, wineries, distilleries, and retailers.

Ted was named a 2019 Pennsylvania Trailblazer by The Legal Intelligencer and made a cameo appearance in “Undercover Billionaire,” Episode 1 -2, as himself giving advice on how to build a brewery.

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