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:
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:
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.
For information regarding national and state liquor law matters or general manufacturing and distribution advice, please contact our Liquor Law, Licensing, Manufacturing, and Distribution Practice Group: Liquor Law Department Chair Theodore J. Zeller III, Esquire (firstname.lastname@example.org); David C. Berger, Esquire (email@example.com) for Pennsylvania and New Jersey retail and manufacturing licensing; or contact our offices at 610-391-1800.