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Experience with Importation

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I'm working with a distillery outside of the US to provide some distillate for a new venture. Does anyone know of a comprehensive overview of this process? Maybe on this forum? My searches have come up empty. Stringing together all of the TTB, Customs and Border information is making my head spin!

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One piece of advice is to make sure your customs broker has dealt with spirits before.  AND that they knows that bulk spirits imported to a US distillery does not have to pay taxes as part of the customs and duty charges.  This is very important and will save you many a headache, and money, if you do your research on a broker and ask these questions up front before you import anything!


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Busy but a quick response without time for citations.  I assume you are talking about bulk.

1.  The person  who makes the importation must have an importer's permit.

2.  Your DSP permit does not cover that.

3. A person who doesn't have a DSP can import for you, but cannot take possession.

4.  The spirits move from customs bond to your DSP bond.  You pay duties, but not excise tax.

5.  You become liable for the tax.

5.  You receive the spirits into either the storage or processing account. 

6.  You receive them based on the last official customs gauge.  Remember to check for losses.  I would gauge them.

7.  You may keep them in the containers in which you received them or you may physically dump them .

8.  Marking requirements apply to the containers in which you hold them, whether or original or dumped..

9. Once you have them, you treat them in the same way you would domestic spirits, but in some cases you have to keep a separate record.  Puerto Rico and the VI for example, because of carry over provisions of the tax laws.

10.  When you remove the spirits, you must label them under part 5 regulations.  Make sure you can document class and type.

11.  You pay the excise tax when you remove them.


I've probably forgotten at least one thing, but that is it in a nutshell.  Hire a customs broker to deal with the customs paperwork.

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