Rev Ruling 54-278

Basic Permits at Ports of Entry

Advice is requested whether an importer is required to obtain basic permits at ports of entry where (a) the merchandise is delivered by the customs broker direct to the vendees and (b) the sales are made at the business address of the importer covered by the permit.

Section 3(a) of the Federal Alcohol Administration Act provides that it shall be unlawful to engage in the business of importing into the United States distilled spirits, wines or malt beverages, or for any person so engaged to sell or ship such products, so imported, in interstate or foreign commerce, directly or indirectly or through an affiliate, without first obtaining a basic permit.

This importer maintains but one place of business. Such place of business is covered by an importer's basic permit. Orders for imported alcoholic beverages are received from distributors throughout the United States and accepted by the importer at that place of business. Customs brokers at the various ports of entry make customs entries of merchandise and immediately thereafter transfer it, in bond, to the vendees.  Such transfers are made under the instruction of the importer and in his name. Customs duties and internal revenue taxes are advanced by the vendees as transferees in bond.

It is held that an importer of alcoholic beverages who maintains no place of business other than that covered by his permit and who makes all sales at the place of business covered by his permit would not be required to obtain importer's basic permits at the ports of entry through which alcoholic beverages are entered into the United States even though delivery is made direct to the vendees.

27 U.S.C. 203; 27 CFR Part I