I recently conducted a survey about the top wine compliance challenges winery staff are facing. One of the questions asked them if they had power of attorney for their winery. This was in reference to the TTB, or federal level. The overwhelming majority (70%) said no. I was really surprised by this. (And somewhat concerned)
Why be concerned? What is the role that having (TTB) power of attorney plays for winery staff responsible for compliance?
Basically it gives them full ownership of their jobs. (What a concept!)
Many of the people who responded to my survey stated that they were responsible for filing various TTB reports. Any TTB report requires a signature.
Take for example someone who manages winemaking work orders and as part of that process also completes and submits the TTB monthly report. (still referred to as the 702)
That person will complete the monthly report (and knows the details about all the numbers that are on it) but then has someone else at the winery who has TTB signing authority actually sign it before submitting it.
This makes no sense to me. Would you write a book and then put someone else’s name on the cover as the author? That’s basically what is happening in the scenario I just described.
This is how assigning power of attorney to the various staff at a winery who are directly involved in maintaining and submitting TTB records and reports gives them full ownership of their work.
In the event that the TTB actually comes knocking on their door in the event of an audit they will only interact with staff who have power of attorney (or signing authority) on file.
Who better to interact on behalf of the winery than the staff that knows the details the best?
My recommendation is always to take a look at which staff members are managing and submitting the various TTB reports. If they don’t have TTB power of attorney that is my next recommendation.
Any winery can contact the TTB office in Cincinnati (National Revenue Center) to find out who is listed for their winery with either signing authority or power of attorney.
I also always recommend keeping a summary list of in both hardcopy and digital form of all power of attorney details for easy reference in events such as staff changes, being away on vacation or other reasons and also in relation to what their recordkeeping responsibilities are.