The Craft Beverage Modernization Act has been big, good and not so confusing news for U.S.-produced alcohol beverages for about a year already. But when it comes to imported products, there has been lots of confusion, anxiety, and waiting. A lot of this, however, is coming into focus in recent weeks. Last month Customs released this document, to explain how the reduced tax rates will apply to imports. It, and some of the related documents, were not easy to follow. There is lots of talk about various spreadsheets and certifications, but they were not so easy to find, until very recently.
I am thinking about this topic because American Shipper published a good and clear article about all this on November 2, 2018. The entire article is here, and a few excerpts are below.
In guidance released on Oct. 16, CBP announced the availability of three documents — the Craft Beverage Modernization Act (CBMA) spreadsheet, controlled group spreadsheet and assignment certification — required for importers to claim reduced tax rates for beer, wine and distilled spirits imported during 2018 and 2019, as set forth in the CBMA provisions of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.
National Association of Beverage Importers (NABI) President Rob Tobiassen said in an interview with American Shipper that the Oct. 16 CBP message “provided a lot of guidance” and puts CBMA’s import provisions at about 80 percent to 90 percent implementation.
On a yearly basis for each company, the CBMA cuts excise taxes from $18 to $16 per barrel for the first 6 million barrels imported, cuts excise taxes on distilled spirits from $13.50 to $2.70 per proof gallon for the first 100,000 proof gallons imported and cuts excise taxes for the first 750,000 gallons of wine imported, progressing up to a rate of approximately $2.43 per gallon. Aug. 16 guidance released by CBP and Treasury authorized CBP to issue refunds on entries that are eligible for the reduced 2018 and 2019 excise tax rates, but were filed under the pre-CBMA rates. Starting Jan. 31, CBP will liquidate claims for 2018 entries flagged at CBMA rates, according to the guidance.
I don’t envy the Excel-person responsible for filling out 27 columns for each product (plus A-O to cover Controlled Groups).