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All, I just wanted to share an article that I was honored to be featured in recently that discusses the new lower FET rates, and what needs to happen at a grass roots level in order to make sure that the rates are extended beyond the 2019 date. I have done a lot of work with different groups in regards to the impact that this new rate has had throughout the industry but I would implore you, the owners of distilleries, do everyone a huge favor ... Document, document, document! Of all the groups I have worked with, and all the discussions I have had, the most important factor in the very near future is going to be documentation. If you are enjoying the new lower FET's, and you have been able to purchase new equipment, finally do that marketing campaign you have been dreaming of, or hire some new employees to increase your output, DOCUMENT IT!!!!! Put real numbers to work for you. If you have saved "X" amount of dollars due to the lower FET rate, and have reinvested that in the economy via purchases, employment, whatever, make sure you are documenting it and sharing it with your state guild, national associations, etc. I am here to warn you, if this information is not produced and shared in concrete numbers, the government all-to-likely may not extend this wonderful incentive. If no one can provide solid evidence as to the economic impact that this has had on the industry as a whole, there will be no incentive for the fed's to cut their own large source of funding any further. I would also caution that these numbers have to be produced sooner than later due to the fact that these rates are due to expire at the end of 2019 unless action is taken. That means that numbers for 2018 need to be pulled together and presented as soon as 2019 kicks off. The government is a big ship and it turns slowly, meaning, these numbers cannot be produced in September of 2019 with the hopes of having anyone have time to look at them in time to have an impact. Keep in mind that these lower FET's are due to "sunset" on December 31st, 2019 if action is not taken. That is what I am asking of you all, to take action. Start pulling your "economic impact" numbers together now, so that come the end of 2018, you can go into 2019 armed with the information needed to ensure that these lower rates are here to stay! Here is a link to the article in case you would like to check it out: http://www.spiritedbiz.com/inside-spirits-making-the-tax-cut-permanent/ Best, Aaron Linden 307-752-5961
Happy 11/11 everyone!!! It has been a little while since I have posted anything new here on the forums and I thank you all for that based on the fact that ADI members have been keeping me VERY busy with insurance and bonding needs. Speaking of bonds, what a segue into the hot topic of the day. On 11/7/17 the TTB released new information in regards to the "Information for Alcohol Excise Taxpayers and Applicants for Permits and Brewers’ Notices Regarding Internal Revenue Code Amendments Affecting Excise Tax Due Dates and Bond Requirements". Specifically they cite the "Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015 (“the PATH Act”) (Public Law 114-113). Section 332 of the PATH Act amends the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (IRC) to change excise tax due dates and remove bond requirements for certain eligible taxpayers (see 26 U.S.C. 5061 and 5551)." Are you sleeping yet? Still with me????? OK ............ This bulletin they released specifies new "Excise Tax Due Dates" that basically say that if you were not liable for more than $50,000 of taxable liability for the calendar year prior, and you don't think you will be above that amount this year, then you can pay your taxes on a quarterly basis beginning 1/1/17. That's cool. It also says that if you reasonably (can someone define what that may mean?? "reasonably" according to who???) expect to not be liable for more than $1,000 in taxes this year as well as in the prior year, you can now pay those taxes annually rather than quarterly. No offense here, but if you have less than $1,000 in taxable liability as a distiller, you have to be quite small as that is only about 463 bottles a year, or in other words, just under 40 bottles a month. Ok, on to the "beefier" subject of this information and what you are really wanting to know; who is exempt and no longer needs this pesky bond stuff anyway!??!!?!? Well, staring as of 1/1/17 it says, " ..... taxpayers who pay taxes annually (so anyone paying less than $1,000 a year, my words here, not theirs) or quarterly (so those folks doing less than an $50,000 a year in taxable liability) will be exempt from the requirements to file bonds covering operations or withdrawals of distilled spirits or wines for nonindustrial use, or beer." Based on the fact that taxable liability only comes into play when spirits are withdrawn (yes, in some cases destroyed, but lets not focus on the negative here people) for distribution/sale (not a transfer in bond, I know my stuff), then as long as you will have less than $50,000 in taxable liability you are good to go without a bond. So is this as clear as mud yet!?!?!?! Basically what is being said here is that if you are going to have less than $50,000 in taxable liability this year (and you had less than that last year) you do not have to have a bond any longer. "BONDS!??! WE DON'T NEED NO STINKING BONDS!!!!!!!!!!" WooHoo, right!?!?!? Well ................... not so fast there speedy. There are a few things to consider before making the call to your agent and telling them to cancel that money sucking bond (actually, my bonds are the lowest in the country so they are not "money sucking" at all). First off, are you close to that bond limit of $50,000? If you are close, or expect to be "reasonably" (hahahaha) close, you may want to leave it in place, just in case. You do not want to cancel the bond only to have to turn around a few months or a few quarters later because you have increased your sales/distribution which equates to withdrawal, and now need to be bonded again. Another aspect to consider is this, when does your bond term come due? I have a lot of folks who will fit the requirements to cancel their bond, however their bond terms renew in November or December. According to the stipulations, they need to renew and keep their bond up until 1/1/17, so they MUST renew it. Here is another caveat to that, depending on the surety carrier that issues the bond, the premium may be pro-rated (you can get money back for the unused portion of the term once you cancel) but they may keep a minimum of $100 service fee ............ or ............. if the premium is 100% full earned, you may not get anything back. Well, why cancel the bond at that point?!?!?! The other issue is that the TTB will not allow you to cancel the bond until all unpaid taxes are rectified from 2016. Once they are you can file for a bond exemption with the TTB through the PONL system but they never specify how long that process will take. So here again is something to watch out for. What if your bond term is after the 1/1/17 date and you file for the exemption but it takes them 6 months (for whatever reason) to process it. Do you need to renew your bond while this is in process? At this point in time I would suggest that you do renew it since you do not want to be out of compliance during the processing time. See, this is not as simplistic as it is made to sound. Obviously, these scenarios are all in regards to existing DSP proprietors. So what about new applicants. Well, for new applicants, since the current processing time for a permit is over 200 days, you should be able to apply for your permit and ask for the exemption during the permitting process. That part actually does sound simplistic and appears to be pretty straightforward. There is a first time for everything!!! So what does this all mean, in real facts and figures and how do you know if you will be below the magical $50,000 mark? Well here is a quick mathematical computation for you (keep in mind these numbers are rounded for simplistic purposes): Current excise tax liability = $13.50 per proof gallon (proof gallon defined as 50% ABV or 100 proof) Taxes are only due when spirits leave the plant, so anything in holding/process does not count against this amount Most spirits go out the door at 80 proof, so the tax rate then would be $13.50 x .8 = $10.80 per gallon (since it is proofed down) Therefore, $50,000 / $10.80 = 4,629 gallons a year or roughly 23,000 bottles of booze, or nearly 2,000 bottles a month Here are pretty much the same numbers but done in actual proof gallons (not rounded): $50,000/$13.50 = 3,703.7 p.g. One case of 12-750’s at 80 proof = 1.902 p.g. per case 3703.7 p.g./1.902 p.g = 1,947 cases or 23,364 bottles per year (cases rounded down to full case) 1947/12 = 162.25 cases per month 23,364/12 = 1947 bottles per month So there you have it folks. A long run for a short slide as it were. The just of all of this is that some of you may not need a bond if you are just getting going and some of you may not need a bond even if you are operating, however make sure you understand where you stand and when the bond term comes due before cancelling you bond. As always, if you have any questions please feel free to reach out to me with any questions. I can be reached here on the forums, via email at firstname.lastname@example.org , or give me a call or shoot me a text at 307-752-5961. I am always more than happy to assist you with your bonding questions and do keep in mind ***** I OFFER A FULL LINE OF ALL DISTILLERY INSURANCE NEEDS, AS WELL, I HAVE THE BEST RATES IN THE COUNTRY. ***** Just sayin'. Best, Aaron