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Statutory Authorities and Responsibilities
Homeland Security Act
The Homeland Security Act renders functions of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) into two new organizations. This Act creates with the Department of the Treasury a new Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) and moves certain law enforcement functions of ATF to the Department of Justice.
Under the Act, the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau is responsible for administration and enforcement of:
- The Internal Revenue Code of 1986, 26 U.S.C. (IRC):
- Chapter 51 (Distilled Spirits, Wine, and Beer);
- Chapter 52 (Tobacco Products and Cigarette Papers and Tubes); and
- Sections 4181 and 4182 (Firearms and Ammunition Excise Taxes);
- Federal Alcohol Administration Act, 27 U.S.C. chapter 8 (FAA Act), including:
- Alcohol Beverage Labeling Act of 1988 (ABLA); and
- The Webb-Kenyon Act, 27 U.S.C. section 122.
The Act transfers enforcement of the National Firearms Act, 26 USC Chapter 53, to the Attorney General, who must coordinate this tax enforcement with the Secretary of the Treasury.
Internal Revenue Code
Chapters 51 and 52 provide for excise taxation and authorize operations of alcohol and tobacco producers and related industries. These provisions include:
- Classification of alcohol and tobacco products for excise tax purposes;
- Permits methods of operation for distilleries, wineries, breweries, industrial alcohol producers and users, tobacco manufacturers, importers, and exporters;
- Regulation of the operations of distilleries, wineries, brewers, and of various industrial users of distilled spirits, including manufacturers of nonbeverage products, tax-free, and denatured alcohol;
- Imposition of various occupational taxes;
- Regulation of the production, packaging, bottling, labeling, and storage requirements related to these commodities;
- Issue permits and regulate operations for tobacco importers, tobacco manufacturing premises, and export warehouses.
IRC sections 4181 and 4182 provide for excise taxes for firearms and ammunition.
Federal Alcohol Administration Act
The FAA Act provides for regulation of those engaged in the alcohol beverage industry, and for protection of consumers.
- To ensure the integrity of the industry, the FAA Act includes provisions to:
- Require a permit for those who engage in the business as a producer, importer, or wholesaler of alcohol beverages;
- Issue, suspend, and revoke permits;
- Ensure the integrity of the industry by preventing persons who are not likely to operate in accordance with the law from entering the trade; and
- Protect the revenue and consumers by ensuring the integrity of the industry members.
- To protect consumers, FAA Act provisions:
- Ensure that labeling and advertising of alcohol beverages provide adequate information to the consumer concerning the identity and quality of the product;
- Require that alcohol beverage bottlers and importers have an approved certificate of label approval or an exemption certificate before a product may be sold in the United States; and
- Prevent misleading labeling or advertising that may result in potential for consumer deception regarding the product.
- The FAA Act includes provisions to preclude unfair trade practice. These provisions:
- Regulate the marketing promotional practices concerning the sale of alcohol beverages; and
- Regulate practices such as exclusive outlets, tied house arrangements, commercial bribery, and consignment sales.
The Alcoholic Beverage Labeling Act
The Alcoholic Beverage Labeling Act mandates that a government warning statement appear on all alcohol beverages for sale or distribution in the United States.
The Webb-Kenyon Act
The Webb-Kenyon Act prohibits the shipment of alcohol beverages into a State in violation of the receiving State's laws. This statute provides additional authority to enhance enforcement of FAA Act requirements.