Dark blue Frame around the IC. Dark blue Frame around the IC. Dark blue Frame around the IC.
Dark blue Frame around the IC.

Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau

Industry Circular

Number: 2003-6
Date: June 24, 2003

To download a PDF file, you must have Adobe Acrobat Reader software installed on your system.  To download a free copy of Adobe Reader, click here.


COLAs Online

To: Distilled Spirits Plants, Breweries, Wineries, Taxpaid Wine Bottling Houses, Importers and Others Concerned with the Alcohol Beverage Industry

What is the purpose of this circular?

This circular announces that the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) has launched COLAs Online, a system that lets users electronically file applications (eApplications) for Certificates of Label Approval (COLAs) and allows us to track the status of such applications.

What is COLAs Online?

COLAs Online, a TTB electronic-government initiative, is a system that:

  • Allows industry members to submit COLA applications to TTB via the Internet.
  • Provides industry members with a streamlined, expedient, and paperless means to obtain a COLA.
  • Provides a means for TTB to review applications electronically and to return them, whether approved, correctible, or rejected, to industry members electronically.
  • Makes an online capability available so that industry members may obtain status updates on electronically-filed forms.
  • Allows the public to view approved COLAs, including labels.

Why do I need a COLA?

You need an approved COLA to bottle and remove beverage alcohol from the bonded area of the plant(s) where the beverage was bottled or packed, or to remove it from U.S. Customs and Border Protection custody.

What are the advantages to filing COLAs electronically?

Users of COLAs Online can expect to:

  • Complete the eApplications more easily than paper forms.
  • Obtain COLAs in less time.
  • Transmit eApplications and receive TTB responses virtually instantaneously.
  • Experience fewer rejections due to incorrect or missing information. COLAs Online has built-in business rules wherever possible that reduce the chances of submitting incomplete applications.
  • Track the status of your eApplications while they are in the system.
  • Access the system 24 hours per day, seven days per week.
  • Make corrections within 15 calendar days of our initial review if your eApplication discloses problems. This feature reduces the number of outright rejections.
  • Receive priority consideration of corrected eApplications over new applications received on the same day.

Is it mandatory that I file using COLAs Online?

No. Filing COLAs electronically is optional. The Advertising, Labeling and Formulation Division (ALFD) encourages electronic filing but still accepts paper applications.

When can I start to use COLAs Online?

You may use the new system starting now, if you have registered with ALFD.

What is required to register for COLAs Online?

To use COLAs Online you need a user ID and password. To obtain them you must complete and file a COLAs Online Access Request (TTB F 5013.2) at www.atf.gov/. If you do not have signature authority or power of attorney to sign documents on behalf of the company for which you are filing label applications, you also need to complete ATF F 5000.8, Power of Attorney. If you have a power of attorney, you must submit a copy of it when you apply to register to use COLAs Online.

You must send the required documents to the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, Advertising, Labeling, and Formulation Division at 650 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Suite 5200, Washington, DC 20226.

What programs do I need to install on my computer in order to use COLAs Online?

You must have access to the Internet. COLAs Online is a Web-based system that supports Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.0 and higher. You also need an e-mail address in order to receive status notifications about your eApplications and, unless your attachments are in an electronic format, access to a scanner.

Will users be able to check the status of their eApplications?

Yes. You may log on at any time to your COLAs Online home page, which lists any eApplications you filed in the last 30 days and their current status. The system also allows you to search for all eApplications you submitted and identifies their current status. You may logon to see if your eApplication has been received, withdrawn, approved, or rejected, or if it needs correction. You cannot obtain this information for other companies' submissions or for your paper applications. We send e-mail notification of status changes in eApplications to submitters. Therefore, if you use a third party filer to submit applications, that filer receives the notification.

Will COLAs Online reduce the amount of time it takes to receive label approval?

The human review process of the COLA application for compliance with the regulations remains unchanged. However, eliminating the delivery time it takes to send and return paper applications shortens the process significantly. Also, the online application possesses built-in validations that prevent many of the errors applicants make on paper applications. User ability to "correct" a label application is another process improvement offered by the new system. It eliminates the need for most outright rejections, thus reducing the overall turnaround time for COLA approvals.

Who can answer my questions about COLAs Online?

If you have questions about this new system, you may contact the Advertising, Labeling, and Formulation Division at 650 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Suite 5200, Washington, DC 20226 or at 1-866-927-2533.

Signature of Arthur J. Libertucci
Arthur J. Libertucci
Dark blue Frame around the IC. Dark blue Frame around the IC. Dark blue Frame around the IC.