Importing alcoholic beverages and wondering where your reduced tax rates and credits are? Customs and Border Protection prepares to implement the system to allow you to file for your refunds.

The Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act of 2017 didn’t just help domestic producers, it lowered excise taxes for imported beer and distilled spirits and allowed for a tax credit on imported wines in addition to domestic wines. U.S. Customs and Border Protection was tasked with establishing procedures for an importer to receive a lower effective excise tax rate on qualifying imports of beer, wine, and distilled spirits. And the U.S. Customs and Border Protection just announced that importers looking to obtain refunds should be able to start claiming those within the month.

A brief recap of happenings so far:

Back in January, U.S. Customs and Border Protection issued a message to alcohol importers letting them know that:  

Until such procedures are established and guidance is issued, importers of beer, wine, and distilled spirits seeking to qualify for excise tax relief, based on qualifying assignments made by a foreign producer, should continue to pay the full excise tax rates.  Importers will be provided with the opportunity to seek the applicable excise tax relief, on entries made after the law went into effect, once forthcoming procedures and guidance have been issued.

Then in June, the CBP let everyone know they were working on the guidance and that refund requests would be processed no earlier than January 15, 2019.

In late August, they began implementing the rules for importers to be able to flag assignments – the allotments of the reduced tax rates or tax credits from the foreign producers/assigning entities – to importers to facilitate the implementation of verifying/tracking the right to a refund.

Last week the CBP announced further guidance on the subject and an update to the ongoing implementation and stated that later this month, it would provide documentation and tracking methods for importers to track and to obtain verification of assignment from foreign producers.

For those looking to find out more, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection has been continually updating and FAQ on the subject to help with the guidance and address a host of issues such as:

This all means that within the month, importers should be able to start obtaining those lower rates and credits.

Ashley Brandt

Hi there! I’m happy you’re here. My name is Ashley Brandt and I’m an attorney in Chicago representing clients in the Food and Beverage, Advertising, Media, and Real Estate industries. A while back I kept getting calls and questions from industry professionals and attorneys looking for advice and information on a fun and unique area of law that I’m lucky enough to practice in. These calls represented a serious lack of, and need for, some answers, news, and information on the legal aspects of marketing and media. I've got this deep seeded belief that information should be readily available and that the greatest benefit from the information age is open access to knowledge... so ... this blog seemed like the best way to accomplish that. I enjoy being an attorney and it’s given me some amazing opportunities, wonderful experiences, and an appreciation and love for this work. I live in Chicago and work at an exceptional law firm, Goldstein & McClintock, with some truly brilliant people. Feel free to contact me at any time with any issues, comments, concerns… frankly, after reading this far, I hope you take the time to at least let me know what you think about the blog and how I can make it a better resource.

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