The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) understands that natural disasters are a way of life, even for the alcohol beverage industry. Before COVID-19, this often meant dealing with damages caused by hurricanes, severe storms, or fires. So, Florida businesses affected by a severe natural disaster can contact the TTB about alcohol excise tax relief and additional relief filings.
Qualifying for relief
The federal, state and local jurisdictions may also provide relief options to those who file claims. Alcohol industry businesses have some universal and some specific guidelines when filing a claim. These include:
- Filing deadline: Claimants must file within six months from when the damage occurred. If the U.S. President declares a disaster due to a weather event or fire, the deadline is six months from that declaration.
- Theft: Manufacturers of distilled beverages, wine or beer cannot file a theft claim, but they can seek relief on excise taxes (as mentioned above).
- Damage to alcohol products: There is a $250 minimum for beer, wine or liquor manufacturers, but there is no minimum if the President declares the area a disaster.
- Insurance: TTB does not pay claims if the alcohol industry company has insurance coverage, which may help cover the excise tax.
- Purchase price: The value listed on the claim is the cost of products and imported goods. Claims for duties paid for importing are filed with U.S. Customs.
- Goods in transit: The manufacturer or distributor may be eligible to file a claim if the goods are still owned by the transporter or seller and not a purchaser. The owner must provide proof of ownership.
- Payment of claims: The amount paid does include interest on the product’s cost. The TTB bases the amount of taxes paid or determined on distilled spirits, wine, beer lost, made un-merchantable, or condemned by a duly authorized official due to fire, flood, or other disasters.
- Disposing of unusable product: Check with a TTB to see if they want to send a witness before destroying condemned or unsellable product.
Filing the claim
It is generally best and fastest to file claims electronically. It is also wise to include documentation as evidence to support the claim. It should include individual evidence, statements by local or state officials regarding the condition of the property and product. The claimant should include information on insurance coverage or non-coverage that enclose a copy of the policy. Claimants whose records were destroyed can get copies of records from insurance companies, banks and accountants.