Friday, November 17, 2017

United States Senators Try to Overhaul Alcoholic Beverage Taxation

     This is something that is long overdue for American winemakers, brewers and distillers.   We offer a similar package for the distilleries in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, it is time to start taking of the alcoholic beverage producers at home.

     Almost 300 House members have voiced support for a similar proposal.   The amendment would cut federal excise taxes on beer and spirits.  It also would allow small winemakers to access a larger credit for the wine excise tax, which ranges between $1.07 and $3.40 per gallon.

     Groups that represent brewers, winemakers and distillers in Washington said on Monday that the Senate should use its tax reform package to enact long-discussed changes to the excise tax regime which, in the industry's view, would help both large beverage-makers and smaller, craft operations.

     In a Nov. 13 letter to Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), industry leaders said including language championed by Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) in a manager's amendment to the tax legislation would ease the excise tax regime for alcoholic beverage companies that are also advocating for looser regulations. The Beer Institute, Brewers Association, Wine Institute, Wine America, Distilled Spirits Council and American Craft Spirits Association signed onto the letter.

     "The beverage alcohol industry remains one of the most regulated industries in America," the groups wrote. "Brewers, winemakers and distillers pay state, local and federal taxes on their production. Federal excise taxes, which are regressive taxes, are simply too high."

     Portman's amendment would enact the provisions of S. 236, which contains several changes to how the federal tax code treats the sale and production of alcoholic beverages. The underlying legislation was introduced by Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon, the ranking Democrat on the Finance Committee, on Jan. 30. It has bipartisan support from 53 cosponsors, including 24 Republicans and 11 members of the Finance Committee. Hatch is not a cosponsor. An identical House bill - H.R. 747, introduced by Rep. Erik Paulson (R-Minn.) - has 295 co-sponsors.

     Portman's amendment would cut federal excise taxes on domestically produced beer and distilled spirits and allow greater access to a credit for the wine excise tax, which ranges between $1.07 and $3.40 per gallon.