When I first saw the TTB’s (That is the Alcohol & Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau) announcement a few months ago on their website stating their plans to launch an online version of submitting permit application materials I thought- that’s brilliant! I have given the TTB a lot of credit for being the trend setter when it comes to eliminating paper forms and snail mail trails. They have already released two other very successful online submission systems. First was COLAs online, the electronic version of label approval which was released in 2002. Then came Pay.gov, their site used to electronically file such common report forms as the monthly report (702) and excise taxes. So this latest online portal continues to complete the whole plate of TTB processes wineries are required to complete. I have now just completed my first experience using this new online permitting system. I was filing a permit for a wholesaler. Their business set up is as a sole proprietor. Walking through the steps in the process was fairly easy to follow and if I was not sure exactly what I was being asked for there are small question marks which give more detail. I was able to submit this application which is a fairly simple one in about 45 minutes time. So not too bad for a first time experience. That time factor would continue to go down with future filings. Based on my experiences there are a few basic preparation tips I would suggest. First, they are now requiring copies of bank statements if the financial contribution for your wine business comes from your own funds. They require that you submit a total of 5 of your most recent bank statements with the application. All the documentation required, such as the driver’s license copies, bank statements, operating agreement, or loan documents can all be uploaded directly as part of the online application process. Second, in relation to this first tip I would suggest gathering all of your required documents ahead of time as much as possible so they can all be uploaded at the same time and speed up the process of completing the application. It is no big issue here as you can progress as far as you are ready to go in the filing, then just save your file and return to it later to complete and submit. I will be very interested to see what the turnaround time is for approval of this permit using the online system. That is definitely one advantage of their other online systems, the speed in which responses come back. I’ll post follow up information here about my overall experience using the TTB’s new system. For now here is a link to the online permitting site: https://ttbonline.gov/permitsonline/

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