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Applying for a Permit and/or Registration

Certain alcohol and tobacco businesses, as well as firearms and ammunition businesses, including those listed below, must file an application with and receive approval from TTB before engaging in business. There is no fee at the federal level to apply for or maintain approval to operate TTB-regulated alcohol and tobacco businesses.

TTB offers an online application through Permits Online that you can complete in a matter of minutes.  In most cases, once your application is submitted electronically, you're done.  Please see an overview of the application process to help you prepare for applying for your first TTB permit, registration, or notice.

Key Permits and Registration Topics

Depending on your industry type (wine, beer, distilled spirits, industrial alcohol, or firearms and ammunition excise taxpayer) and the type of business you want to operate, the application processing times may vary.

Some business operations are similar in nature or involve similar products. Please carefully read the business descriptions to determine what you need to file. If you need assistance, contact TTB's National Revenue Center toll-free at 877-882-3277. You may also send us a message using our National Revenue Center Contact Form.

Starting a new business and understanding the process can be challenging. See our interactive tutorial Getting Started in a TTB-Regulated Industry for an easy-to-understand overview of the steps involved in starting a new business that will be regulated by TTB.

Once you determine your business type and have a better understanding of the process, you must file an application with TTB and receive approval before you can begin operations. For most business types, you can submit your application using our safe secure system, Permits Online. For applications unavailable in Permits Online, you must file a paper application and mail it to TTB's office in Cincinnati, Ohio.

     Online with Permits Online.

     Download, print, and mail application to TTB.

  • Permits Online - Use our safe secure system to apply online for a permit. You can submit and track most application types online.
  • Permits Online Tutorial - Online training that takes you step-by-step for using of Permits Online
  • Getting Started in a TTB-Regulated Industry - Starting a new business and understanding the process can be challenging; our interactive tutorial gives you an easy-to-understand overview of the steps involved in starting a new business that will be regulated by TTB.

 

 

These informational packets address situations that do not require you to file an application or request permission to operate. In these specific cases, our packets provide instructions on obtaining a special service or fulfilling a special requirement for your type of business.

  • Disaster Claims: When certain natural disasters occur and alcohol or tobacco inventory is damaged, a business owner may file a claim for the excise taxes paid on the unmerchantable products. Under certain circumstances, the tax money may be refunded for alcohol and tobacco products. If you wish to file such a claim, read the flyer in this packet and follow the instructions. 

    ( paper application only)

  • Manufacturer of Nonbeverage Products (MNBP): Select this packet if you want to use taxpaid alcohol to manufacture perfume, medicines, medicinal preparations, food products, flavoring, or flavoring extracts and file drawback claims for all but $1 per proof gallon of the excise taxes paid on the spirits used in the manufacturing process. 

    (paper application only)

 

Business Type Descriptions

  • Alcohol Fuel Plant-Medium/Large: An Alcohol Fuel Plant (AFP) is established with the sole purpose of producing, processing and storing, and using or distributing distilled spirits to be used exclusively for fuel use. A medium AFP is one that will produce and receive a combination of more than 10,000 but less than 500,000 proof gallons of spirits in a calendar year. A large AFP is one that will produce and receive a combination of more than 500,000 proof gallons of spirits in a calendar year.
  • Alcohol Fuel Plant-Small: A small AFP is one that will produce, process and store, and use or distribute distilled spirits to be used exclusively for fuel use. A small AFP is one that will produce and receive a combination of 10,000 or less proof gallons of spirits in a calendar year.
  • Brewery/Brewpub/Alternating Proprietorship: A brewery may be established to produce malt beverages, operate a brewpub or micro-brewery or conduct an alternating proprietorship with another brewery. For sake producers, see sake brewery below.
  • Brewery-Pilot Operations: A pilot brewery may be established off brewery premises for research, analytical, experimental, or developmental purposes relating to beer or brewery operations. 

    (paper application only)

  • Distilled Spirits Plant – Beverage: A distilled spirits plant (DSP) may be established to produce, bottle, rectify, process or store beverage spirits. Examples of beverage distilled spirits include neutral spirits or alcohol (i.e. vodka or grain spirits), whiskey, gin, brandy, blended applejack, rum, Tequila, cordials and liqueurs.
  • Distilled Spirits Plant – Industrial: A distilled spirits plant (DSP) may be established to manufacture articles, or produce, bottle or package, denature or warehouse spirits for industrial use. These spirits are not intended for beverage use. Distilled spirits Vinegar Plants fall into this category.
  • Distilled Spirits Plant – Industrial/Beverage: A distilled spirits plant (DSP) may conduct beverage (non-industrial) and industrial operations from the same premises.
  • Experimental Distilled Spirits Plant: An experimental distilled spirits plant (DSP) may be established for specific and limited periods of time solely for experimentation in or development of industrial spirits or sources of materials used to produce spirits or processes for producing or refining spirits. 

    (paper application only)

  • Saké Brewery - Anyone wishing to produce saké must qualify as a brewery and also must file an application for a basic permit to produce and blend wine. At this time, all the paperwork must be submitted on paper forms.
  • Winery/Taxpaid Wine Bottling House: Anyone wishing to operate a wine premises (bonded winery (BW or BWN), bonded wine cellar (BWC) or taxpaid wine bottling house (TPWBH)) must first apply to TTB and receive permission to start operations. Winery, bonded wine cellar and/or taxpaid wine bottling house operations may not begin until approval is given.

  • Exporter (Alcohol): There are certain procedures that wholesalers must follow if they wish to export alcohol – particularly if they wish to export it without payment of tax.
  • Importer (Alcohol): Anyone wishing to become a beverage alcohol importer (IMP), importing into the United States beverage alcohol not for personal use, and subsequently distributing the imported beverage alcohol to wholesalers or retailers, must file this application.
  • Wholesaler (Alcohol): Wholesalers (WHL), businesses which sell beverage alcohol products at wholesale to other wholesalers or retailers must first obtain a Wholesaler's Basic Permit. Producers or manufacturers of beverage alcohol products need to apply for a Wholesaler's Basic Permit only if they intend to sell beverage alcohol products which they did not produce or manufacture.
  • Wholesaler/Importer (Alcohol): Businesses which require a Basic Permit for Importing (to import and distribute foreign beverage alcohol) and Wholesaling (to distribute at wholesale, domestic beverage alcohol) from the same location may reduce the required paperwork by combining the applications.

  • Specially Denatured Spirits - Dealer: Specially Denatured Spirits (SDS) is alcohol that has been diluted with another product to render it non-potable (not drinkable). This alcohol may be used in a number of products from solvents, raw materials, fluids, and other miscellaneous uses. An SDS Dealer may withdraw and sell SDS to other SDS Users.
  • Specially Denatured Spirits - User: Specially Denatured Spirits is alcohol that has been diluted with another product to render it non-potable (not drinkable). This alcohol may be used in a number of products from solvents, raw materials, fluids, and other miscellaneous uses. An SDS User may withdraw, use or recover SDS.
  • Spirits for use by U.S. Government: U.S. Government agencies may apply for a permit to withdraw and use tax-free (ethyl alcohol or ethanol at 190 proof or more) and specially denatured spirits tax free for nonbeverage purposes. State and local governments and their agencies must file an application for Tax-Free Alcohol User or Specially Denatured Spirits – User.
  • Tax-Free Alcohol User: Certain types of organizations (e.g. state or local government agencies, scientific colleges or universities, labs, hospitals, etc.) may apply for an Industrial Alcohol User permit to withdraw and use tax-free alcohol (ethyl alcohol or ethanol at 190 proof or more) for specific reasons.

  • Firearms and Ammunition Excise Tax (FAET): Dealers, Importers and Manufacturers of Firearms and Ammunition must file TTB F 5300.26 Federal Firearms and Ammunition Excise Tax Return when they incur an FAET liability for the sale and use of firearms and ammunition and only need to file a registration with TTB if they intend to conduct tax free sales. For more information, see our Firearms and Ammunition Page.

  • Tobacco Export Warehouse Proprietor: Businesses which export tobacco products (cigarettes, cigars, chewing tobacco, snuff, pipe tobacco, roll your own tobacco) to a foreign country, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands or another United States possession must first obtain an export warehouse proprietor permit.
  • Tobacco Importer: Anyone who wishes to import tobacco products (cigarettes, cigars, chewing tobacco, snuff, pipe tobacco, roll your own tobacco) into the United States for personal* or business purposes must first obtain this permit. *Note, United States Customs determines acceptable limits for personal importation.
  • Tobacco Products Manufacturer: Businesses which manufacture tobacco products (cigarettes, cigars, chewing tobacco, snuff, pipe tobacco, roll your own tobacco) must first obtain a Manufacturer of Tobacco Products permit.
  • Manufacturer of Processed Tobacco (MPR): Businesses which manufacture processed tobacco must first obtain a manufacturer of processed tobacco permit. Businesses with a valid TTB permit to manufacture tobacco products (cigarettes, cigars, chewing tobacco, snuff, pipe tobacco, roll your own tobacco) need not obtain a separate permit to manufacture processed tobacco.
  • Importer of Processed Tobacco: Businesses who wish to import processed tobacco into the United States must first obtain this permit. Businesses with a valid TTB permit to import tobacco products (cigarettes, cigars, chewing tobacco, snuff, pipe tobacco, roll your own tobacco) need not obtain a separate permit to import processed tobacco. A permit to import tobacco products may be amended to include importation of processed tobacco.

NOTE: Manufacturers of electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS)–generally, e-cigarettes, "vaping" devices, and other similar products that do not contain tobacco–do not need to apply to TTB for a permit to operate. Federal law (section 5702 of Title 26 of the United States Code) defines tobacco products subject to the Federal excise taxes administered by TTB as cigars, cigarettes, smokeless tobacco (snuff and chewing tobacco), pipe tobacco, and roll-your-own tobacco.  Each of these products is specifically defined in section 5702.  TTB does not regulate manufacturers of any ENDS products that do not fall within these definitions.  Such manufacturers may be subject to regulation by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as well as State and local laws.

 

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Last updated: March 6, 2024
Maintained by: National Revenue Center