Update April 20: This blog has been updated to reflect additional OLCC guidance.
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, state and federal agencies are stepping up to provide tax and reporting relief for wineries, breweries, and distilleries. Below is an overview of how the TTB and California, Oregon, and Washington agencies are easing tax and reporting requirements during this period.
On March 31, 2020, the TTB announced via Industry Circular 2020-2 several actions to provide relief for wineries, breweries, and distilleries:
- 90-day extension to file and pay federal excise taxes without interest and penalties, where the original due date falls on or after March 1, 2020 through July 1, 2020. Under this extension, if a permittee’s quarterly excise tax return and payment was originally due April 15, 2020, the new due date of that return and payment is July 14, 2020.
See chart of new dates for tax returns and tax payments here.
- 90-day extension to file operational reports, where the original due date falls on or after March 1, 2020 through July 1, 2020. Under this extension, if a permittee’s monthly operational report was originally due May 15, 2020, the new due date of that report is August 13, 2020.
See chart of new dates for operational reports here.
Additional Emergency Variations From Regulatory Requirements
Beyond the extensions for operational reports and taxes, TTB will also consider applications for the use of “reasonable alternate methods and procedures” that help the affected industry members to resume or continue their operations. Alternate methods and procedures will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
- Permittees should submit requests for emergency variations from regulatory requirements through TTB’s online contact form.
Permittees subject to penalties may also seek additional relief from penalties for failure to pay tax or failure to file a return, or for failure to pay by electronic funds transfer (failure to deposit), based on a showing of “reasonable cause.”
- Contact the TTB’s National Revenue Center at 1-877-882-3277 or via TTB’s online contact form.
Claims for credits or refunds, or use of spirits in nonbeverage products
TTB is granting an additional 90 days beyond the usual six month period for permittees to file claims for credits or refunds for certain reasons, or for DSPs to file drawback for spirits used in nonbeverage products such as hand sanitizer.
On March 12, 2020, Governor Newsom issued Executive Order 25-20, granting authority to the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration (CDTFA) to allow ABC licensees to submit a request to the CDTFA for an extension of time to file taxes for 60 days, and request relief from interest and penalties on late payments if that licensee is unable to file on time based on compliance with public health requirements related to COVID-19.
- Requests for a 60-day delay to file taxes and penalty and interest waiver can be done online or via email/letter.
On March 30, 2020, Governor Newsom issued Executive Order 40-20, allowing the CDFTA to offer a 90-day extension for tax returns and tax payments to taxpayers who file a return for < $1 million in taxes. Per CDTFA announcement, the new filing and payment deadline for CDTFA taxes will be July 31, 2020. Additionally, the order extends the statute of limitations to file a claim for refund by 60 days.
The Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) announced it will waive penalties and interest for late wine and beer privilege tax payments for 60 days but only if licensees call and request deferment: 503-872-5000. The OLCC also issued guidance on privilege tax refunds or tax credits for taxpaid alcohol that has become unsalable or that is donated for hand sanitizer purposes.
On March 24, 2020, Governor Inslee signed Proclamation 20-05, allowing Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (WSLCB) to waive the penalties for failure to timely remit tax payments.
WSLCB announced temporary permission for licensees who request a waiver to defer payment of excise taxes for beer, wine, spirits, and cannabis and waive penalties on late tax payments. The grant of waiver is retroactive from February 29, 2020 and lasts until the Governor’s proclamation is lifted or until the Board rescinds the rule – whichever happens first.
To be eligible for tax deferment and waiver of penalties for late payment licensees should:
- Continue to submit timely sales reports, even if unable to pay on time
- Submit requests to pay taxes late or to have penalties waived, by email at the following email addresses:
The WSLCB emergency rules regarding reports and tax returns in the wake of COVID-19 can be found here.
Davis Wright Tremaine’s beverage practice group advises alcoholic beverage producers on all areas of law, and remains committed to helping you in any way we can during this time.
The facts, laws, and regulations regarding COVID-19 are developing rapidly. Since the date of publication, there may be new or additional information not referenced in this advisory. Please consult with your legal counsel for guidance.
DWT will continue to provide up-to-date insights and virtual events regarding COVID-19 concerns. Our most recent insights, as well as information about recorded and upcoming virtual events, are available at www.dwt.com/COVID-19.