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December 23, 2016


Greetings! We hope you had a shiny and glowing week! This week's top news includes finalized TTB regulations regarding using the International Trade Data System (ITDS) for filing import paperwork, information about the TTB requirements to import alcohol beverages, as well as a list of the past week's top distilled spirits pages at TTB.gov/.


On Thursday, December 22, 2016, we published T.D. TTB–145 in the Federal Register a final rule titled, "Amendments to Streamline Importation of Distilled Spirits, Wine, Beer, Malt Beverages, Tobacco Products, Processed Tobacco, and Cigarette Papers and Tubes and Facilitate Use of the International Trade Data System."

In this document, we are amending our regulations governing the importation of distilled spirits, wine, beer and malt beverages, tobacco products, processed tobacco, and cigarette papers and tubes. The amendments in this document clarify and streamline import procedures, and support the implementation of the International Trade Data System (ITDS) and the filing of import information electronically. Through the implementation of ITDS, data is entered into the "single window" of the Automated Commercial Environment (ACE), a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) system, and then made available through ACE to TTB. The amendments include providing the option for importers to file import-related data electronically when filing entry or entry summary data electronically with CBP, as an alternative to current TTB requirements that importers submit paper documents to CBP upon importation.

This final rule is effective December 31, 2016. Upon the effective date of the final rule, importers will no longer need to apply to operate under TTB's pilot program, announced in Notice No. 156, in order to file TTB data electronically, as all industry members will have the opportunity to use the electronic filing system under the amended regulations.


Certain requirements apply to imported alcohol beverages and persons engaged in the business of importing them.  Below is an excerpt of TTB G 2015-3, a guidance document that outlines these requirements.  Please refer to TTB Guidance 2015-3 for complete details.

Federal Basic Permit

Persons seeking to engage in the business of importing distilled spirits, wine, or malt beverages into the United States must apply for a Federal Basic Importer's Permit.

To obtain an Importer's Permit, the importer must maintain and staff a business office in the United States. If you are unable to conduct business in the United States, you must contract with an existing licensed importer in the United States.

Taxes, Duties, and Registration

Importers are responsible for all applicable Federal excise taxes and duties.  U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) collects all applicable Federal excise taxes on distilled spirits, wine, and beer as defined in the Internal Revenue Code.  CBP also collects all applicable duties.

Importers must register as alcohol dealers and complete TTB Form 5630.5(d), "Alcohol Dealer Registration," before engaging in business.

Certificate of Label Approval Requirements

After receiving the Importer's Permit, the importer must obtain a TTB-issued Certificate of Label Approval (COLA) for each unique product/label for distilled spirits, wine, or malt beverages as defined in the FAA Act.

As part of the COLA process, the importer may need to obtain pre-COLA product approval, depending on the product to be imported.  For information on pre-COLA product approval, see Industry Circular 2007-4

Natural Wine Certificate

Importers of wine made from grapes or other fruit produced after December 31, 2004, must comply with certification requirements to ensure that the practices and procedures used to produce the wine constitute proper cellar treatment in the U.S.  For some grape wines imported from countries with which the United States has an enological practices agreement, no certification is required.  Please refer to our list of excepted countries.

Certificate of Age and Origin Requirements

A certificate of age or origin is required for certain wines and distilled spirits imported into the United States.

Other Regulatory Considerations

In addition to the TTB requirements for importation, the importer must also comply with any applicable requirements of other Federal agencies.

The importer must also meet the requirements of the State and local jurisdictions where the importer is engaged in the importation of beverage alcohol products. 

For additional details read TTB Guidance 2015-3.

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