TTB Streamlines Import requirements

The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) published a final rule (81 FR 94186-94210), on December 22, 2016, that amends the import requirements for Distilled Spirits, Wine, Beer, Malt Beverages, Tobacco Products, Processed Tobacco, and Cigarette Papers and Tubes and facilitates the use of the International Trade Data System (ITDS). 

The amendments "clarify and streamline import procedures, and support the implementation of the International Trade Data System and the filing of import information electronically" and include "providing the option for importers to file import-related data electronically when filing entry or entry summary data electronically with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), as an alternative to current TTB requirements that importers submit paper documents to CBP upon importation."  

Some of the changes finalized with this rule include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Removes the requirement that importers of alcohol beverages file a copy of their FAA Act basic permit with CBP at the port of entry when importing these products into the U.S. from the U.S. Virgin Islands (27 CFR 26.202)
  • Removes the requirements for distinctive liquor bottles to provide a photograph of the bottle to CBP upon entry (27 CFR 26.314 and 27.204)
  • Removes the requirement for certain Gin Statements of Process (27 CFR 5.51(d))
  • Adds a definition of natural wine that is applicable to all of parts 26 and 27
  • Amends 27 CFR 27.48 and 26.200 requiring importers file with CBP and/or retain certain information identifying distilled spirits, wine, and beer imported or brought into the US from the US Virgin Islands subject to tax, as well as information identifying the importer and ultimate consignee of the products
  • Removed the requirement that the importer of distilled spirits submit the certificate of effective tax rate or the standard effective tax rate approval applicable at entry or entry summary, and instead requires that the importer have the certificate in its possession at the time of filing the entry summary and make it available upon request
  • Generally provided for the transfer of tax liability for bulk imports of natural wine from the Virgin islands, to the proprietor of the bonded wine cellar or bonded brewery receiving such bulk wine or beer
  • Allows for electronic filing of the consignee permit number and other information for tax-free industrial alcohol shipments to the US from the US Virgin Islands
  • Allows for electronic filing of the permit number of government agencies importing distilled spirits for non-beverage purposes free of tax, and for other information associated with such imports
  • Removes the requirement to file a certificate with CBP at the time of entry summary for Distilled Spirits, Wine, or Beer brought into the US from the US Virgin Islands, and instead provides that a copy must be maintained as a record
  • Removes the requirement for CBP to gauge or inspect shipments of alcohol before they are released
  • Clarifies that the three year record retention requirements in parts 26 and 27 are measured from the time of release from customs custody, and require that such records be made available to TTB or CBP upon request

The rule became effective on December 31, 2016.