Winemakers, do you cringe at the thought of having to deal with your compliance? If you said yes (And you know all of you did) then I've got some good news for you. There are some simple ways to make keeping up with your compliance an easier task. Really, there are.
I've conveniently summarized a list of my Top 3 Tips just for you, which if followed consistently are guaranteed to spare you from a lot of unnecessary cringing.
My 3 tips are broken out into the following categories: money saving, time saving and sanity saving. I think most of us if asked would say "yes please" to all three of these types of "savings". Each tip is also specifically designed to address the common compliance tasks you're all dealing with. (And…..are also some of your most common problem areas)
Tip # 1: Money Saving
The two major areas wineries can save money are (surprise) related to taxes. These two tax areas are their federal excise and state sales & use taxes. (California wineries)
First, at the federal level they can save up to 84% off their tax payments by filing under the Small Producer's Tax credit. (SPC). This tax credit is available to holders of a TTB winery permit. (Which includes all you alternating proprietors!) They do need to be familiar with the details for qualifying for this hefty tax credit and how to properly file for it. More info here: http://www.ttb.gov/tax_audit/taxguide.shtml
Second, at the state level here in California when it comes to paying your sales and use tax for wines you've shipped make sure you aren't paying those taxes to the board of equalization (BOE) for any wines you shipped to customers out of state.
Tip # 2: Time Saving
Next to saving money related to their winery compliance I think saving time comes in a close second for winemakers. (Or really any of us when dealing with an unpopular task) My tip here is related to their TTB & BOE reporting. Wineries can save time by filing their required reports on either a quarterly or annual basis, whichever they qualify for. So rather than scramble each month to get those reports in they can keep their focus on winemaking instead.
Directly connected to those quarterly or annual report filings is the second part of my time saving tip – filing those reports online. Both the TTB and the BOE have online filing platforms available for these common required filings. Pay.gov for the TTB http://www.ttb.gov/epayment/epayment.shtml and E-file for the BOE http://www.boe.ca.gov/elecsrv/efiling/sutd.htm
Tip # 3: Sanity Saving
So at this point you're saying saving time and money sounds great but all those records- it's still a lot of stuff to keep organized! (And that isn't your thing) Well that is exactly where tip # 3 comes in. To save your sanity with all the ins and outs of compliance my final tip is all about what happens in between your filings. I call it a "season system" because it is designed to guide and prepare you for keeping track of all the info you'll need come time to file.
Since most of the issues I see and hear winemakers complain about related to their compliance are ones that can easily be rectified with some basic organization and pre-planning this is where a "season system" comes in. For starters this system guides you as to how to get to a clean slate and once there the steps to maintain it, thus also maintaining your sanity. Dividing up the year into 4 sections, just like the seasons you are then given a list of which recordkeeping items to keep track of and how exactly to organize them for eventual use with your filings so when it comes time to file you've got everything all ready to go at your fingertips.
It is my hope that these tips provide you some useful guidance in saving you time, money and sanity when it comes to your compliance.
If you'd like more info on what the specific details of the "season system" items are, just send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll send you the list.
If however, at the end of the day you just want to keep all of this day to day compliance stuff at arm's length away from you give my office a call to chat more about my "Compliance Check Up" package.
Here's a link to schedule a call: https://www.timetrade.com/book/DL83P