Rev. Ruling 56-579

Importation of Alcoholic Beverages

Information has been requested with respect to the importation of alcoholic beverages in containers not bearing indicia and not labeled in accordance with regulations for subsequent withdrawal from customs bond, free of tax, for the personal use of Embassy personnel and members of the Diplomatic Corps, and others entitled to receive such products, tax free, as determined by the Collector of Customs.

Pertinent regulations issued pursuant to the internal revenue laws with respect to distilled spirits and the Federal Alcohol Administration Act requires that distilled spirits imported into the United States for sale at retail must be in containers of specified sizes bearing indicia and approved labels.

It is held that alcoholic beverages withdrawn from customs bond solely for the use of persons determined by the collector of customs to be entitled to free withdrawal privileges, such as duly accredited Embassy personnel, members of the Diplomatic Corps, and members of the Armed Services of foreign countries on active duty in the United States, are not subject to the requirements of the labeling and liquor bottle regulations. Accordingly,
alcoholic beverages may be imported in containers of any size which do not bear the required indicia or approved labels, and subsequently withdrawn from customs bond for the use of such persons. If not so withdrawn, such spirits must be exported, destroyed, or repackaged in customs bond in proper marked, stamped, and labeled containers.

26 U.S.C. 5214; 26 CFR 175.94 (27 CFR 251.203)