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US Wineries: Do your WINES qualify for the small producers tax credit: Part 2

In last week’s post I wrote about how to determine if your winery qualifies to file and pay your TTB excise taxes under the small producers tax credit (SPC). There are two main areas that need to be understood related to qualifying for the SPC, the first is whether your winery qualifies (the focus of last week’s post) and second (if the answer to the first part is yes) whether your wines themselves qualify. That is the focus of this week’s post.

Even though your winery may meet the requirements for the SPC that doesn’t mean that all of the wines you bottle will. Here is where you need to be keeping a close tab on the individual winemaking details behind each final blend of wine you bottle for sale. Before clarifying what I mean by this I also need to point out that from a winemaking perspective one of the other main requirements of the SPC is showing wine production every year. Not sure what is meant by “wine production”? See my earlier post here

In taking a look at any of your individual wines that TTB excise taxes are due to be paid on here is the question flow to walk through:

  1. Did we produce all of this wine at our winery? Translation: Were all of the gallons in this wine blend once listed on line 2, Produced by fermentation of our TTB 5120.17 reports? If the answer is definitely yes then the wine will qualify for the SPC.
  2. If your answer is part yes and part no then you’ll need to dig into the details of the “no” gallons. For those gallons that were not “produced by fermentation” at your winery site where were they produced?
  3. Were they produced for your winery by another winery site under a custom crush type of arrangement? If the answer is yes then they can qualify for the SPC but ONLY if you remove their gallons from your winery site as taxpaid, which then means that your winery site files and pays the TTB excise taxes due. This is especially important to point out for all wineries that follow the very common route of sending their cased wines “in bond” to a wine storage warehouse and have them file and pay their TTB excise taxes.  I refer you to a good article on a case from 2015 where this very scenario was the issue that caused a winery a 6 figure late tax bill.
  4. REVISED from Feb 15 posting. Were the “no” gallons a purchase from the bulk wine market? If this is the scenario then those gallons may or may not be eligible for the SPC depending on who files the TTB excise taxes on the bottled wine blend they go into. In order to keep in compliance with filing your TTB excise taxes correctly (under the SPC) for a wine blend that contains those bulk purchased gallons your winery again would need to file and pay the TTB excise taxes for them from your winery bonded site and thus send them to your wine storage warehouse “taxpaid”.  Same scenario as the above example in # 3.
  5. The main significant difference to be aware of here in either of the two scenarios above where your winery owes TTB excise taxes on wines you did NOT produce is that if those cased wines are sent to your warehouse “In Bond” then ONLY the gallons that were produced at your site will qualify for the SPC. Your warehouse would need to be informed  of the percent of your wine blend that does qualify for the SPC. Here’s an example with some math to show what I mean by this. Your winery bottles 5,500 gallons of a blend that 3,465 gallons is wine you produced and 2,035 gallons is wine that was purchased from the bulk market. That would mean when you send this cased wine in bond to your wine storage warehouse you’d need to include on the documentation (the bill of lading)  prominent wording which states that only 63% of it qualifies for the SPC. So when the warehouse then files and pays the TTB excise taxes on it they’ll pay them at the SPC rate on only 63% of the amount of wine shipped.
  6. Your excise tax savings in the long run are significant if you send these “combo” wines to your warehouse Taxpaid. For the above scenario of the 5,500 gallon blend the tax savings would be $4,950 vs  $3,119, which would mean your total tax bill due to the TTB on the 5,500 gallons would either be $3,685 or $5,517 almost a $2K savings.  Certainly for a wine blend like this one I’d recommend it.

As you can see following all the ins and outs of the SPC is no simple task. US Wineries need to be familiar with it however, as it can either save them or cost them a significant amount.

Questions about your winery’s TTB excise taxes? Full contact info for my office is here.