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September 2, 2015 - Special Edition


Greetings! This special edition of the TTB Newsletter contains important information about TTB’s use of email encryption and how to access encrypted emails via Zix Portal.


At TTB, we receive all types of email questions about the federal laws, regulations, and policies in our jurisdiction, and about the people and companies who operate TTB-regulated businesses.  We have some important advice and information to share about how TTB protects you and your company’s sensitive information when using email.

Information Protected by Law.  TTB is subject to a number of laws designed to protect individual and taxpayer personal, private and sensitive information. Under these laws we must prevent unlawful disclosure of sensitive information, including, for example, Employer Identification Numbers (EIN), Social Security Numbers (SSN), and trade secrets, such as alcohol beverage formulas.

While we are required by law to prevent unlawful disclosure of certain information, we highly recommend that you also take steps to protect this information, even when sending emails to TTB.  Emails are typically sent through unsecured servers that are wide open and which may even be monitored by the service provider. We recommend that you never send sensitive or Personally Identifiable Information (PII) in an unencrypted email because of the risk of it falling into the wrong hands. But if you must include sensitive information in an email to TTB please read on to learn how to send it safely.

TTB Secure EmailOne of the steps that TTB has taken to safeguard personal and company protected information is to set up a system for the secure transmission of emails between TTB and external correspondents that encrypts outgoing emails and requires recipients to access encrypted emails via a secure email server.  You may also use this system to safely send encrypted emails to TTB.

All emails sent by TTB employees that contain protected information are required to be encrypted.  In addition, we  automatically encrypt most outbound emails sent by employees in our National Revenue Center (NRC) in Cincinnati, Ohio, regardless of whether they contain protected information or not.  Please note that the NRC responds to online inquiries sent to National Revenue Center, as well as a number of other email addresses, so TTB responses to questions sent to those mailboxes are encrypted.

“New Encrypted Email From TTB”

Registration.  TTB utilizes an email encryption tool called Zix Portal. In order to read encrypted emails sent by TTB or to send encrypted messages to TTB, you must first register with Zix Portal.  By registering your email address with Zix Portal now, you will expedite the process of opening any encrypted emails you may receive from TTB.  Please see our Quick Reference Guide to find step-by-step instructions that walk you through this simple and free registration process.

Accessing Encrypted Emails. Encrypted emails may look strange at first and you may not connect them to an email inquiry you sent to TTB.  You may even think they are spam and consider deleting them.  Follow the steps below to learn how to recognize and access TTB encrypted emails.

In your email Inbox, the message will show up from the email address of the TTB sender and the subject will be preceded by “ttbsecure.”

TTB Inbox

Since TTB encrypted emails reside in the Zix Portal email server, you will not see the actual reply from TTB when you open the notification email.  Instead you will see information about how to access the TTB email.  You’ll also notice that the “from” information is supplemented with additional information identifying the email as a Zix encrypted message: [ttb.notification@zixmessagecenter.com]. You should add this address to your safe sender list to avoid having TTB messages stopped by your email spam filter.

New Encrypted Email

If you’ve already registered your email address with Zix Portal, select “TTB Secure Email Message Center” to immediately access the encrypted email in your TTB Secure email inbox. If you have not already registered your email address you will be prompted to do so when you select this link.

New Encrypted Email

Here is what your TTB Secure email inbox will look like:

TTB Secure Email Inbox

If you want to reply to TTB, just select reply while viewing the message.  Please note that you will not be able to forward encrypted emails to any email address outside of TTB.  This ensures the protection of your private information.

It should also be noted that TTB encrypted emails expire 30 days after they are created and are permanently deleted from your TTB Secure email box whether or not you have read them.

Sending Encrypted Emails to TTB. If you feel that you cannot avoid including sensitive or protected information (for example EIN or SSN) in an email message to TTB, or just want to ensure that your message is sent securely, we recommend that you use the TTB Secure email center.  Simply register your email address or log on using a previously registered email address at: https://web1.zixmail.net/s/e?b=ttb&.  Once you are logged on you may compose and send a message to any TTB email address.

Questions. If you have questions about TTB’s encryption process or how to retrieve encrypted messages, please contact the NRC:

Toll-Free: 877-882-3277 / 877-TTB-FAQS
Online: National Revenue Center

If you experience technical difficulties with Zix Portal please email us at support@ttb.gov.

We hope that you find this information helpful and that you feel confident that TTB is protecting your privacy.

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