Early this morning, in a 51 to 49 vote, the U.S. Senate passed HR 1 the comprehensive tax reform bill, Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that includes the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act. Both the American Craft Spirits Association (ACSA) representing the small craft spirits makers and the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS) representing most of the largest distilled spirits makers in the world have both released statements. We’ve published them in full below.
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From the ACSA Legislative Affairs Committee
“Just minutes ago, the U.S. Senate passed H.R. 1 the comprehensive tax reform bill, Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (51/49). While we know there are differing views on whether the entire tax bill helps businesses and individuals, we are pleased to let you know the bill contains the tax related provisions of the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act (CBMTRA), including a reduction in the Federal Excise Tax (FET) for craft distillers. If passed by both the Senate and House, the rate will drop from $13.50 to $2.70 for the first 100,000 proof gallons. The provision would be effective beginning January 1, 2018. The provision is authorized for only two years, through December 31, 2019. To make this permanent, we also would need to return to Congress at some point in the future. This is not that unusual, however, since many provisions, including some for individual tax relief, are not permanent either.
Make no mistake about it, this is a momentous victory for our industry. Just a few short years ago, ACSA and its active membership started this process with one bill introduced in the Congress and a few co-sponsors. Working together with our industry partners, we have come so far in that the current CBMTRA legislation in the House, H.R. 747, has 300 co-sponsors. In the Senate, fifty-five Senators have co-sponsored similar legislation, S. 236.
Our fight is not over so our celebration must wait. The bill will now go to a Conference with the U.S. House of Representatives. This should happen next week.
As you may recall, we were disappointed when the House did not include our reduction of the FET provision in its version of tax reform. We will be reaching out to you again early next week to activate our grassroots. We will need you to contact key House Members who will be on the Conference to ensure that our provision makes it into the final package that will be sent to the President.
To all of you, thank you again for your incredible work in building support for this effort and giving our distilling community the fair treatment under the tax code we have long needed and deserved. Let’s finish this effort together.
Your Legislative Affairs Committee
Statement form DISCUS
“The Distilled Spirits Council today issued the following statement from Council President & CEO Kraig R. Naasz on Senate passage of tax reform.
“The Distilled Spirits Council commends Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch and their colleagues for their efforts to enact comprehensive tax reform. The two-year version of the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act sponsored by Senator Rob Portman and contained in the Senate tax reform bill will create a fairer tax structure for all beverage alcohol. It will enable producers of distilled spirits to invest back in their businesses and communities across the United States.
“Distilled spirits are among the most highly taxed consumer goods in the United States and we support the enactment of pro-growth, comprehensive tax reform. The Council commends the Senate for its efforts to create a simpler, more competitive and equitable tax system through the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.”
Though perhaps not perfect bill, this is a huge step forward for craft spirts makers across this country. Tax relief could be less than 30 days away.
Craft Spirits Makers: What’s Your Plan?
Do you have a plan together on what you craft spirit distillery will do once tax relief kicks in? If so, please send us your story at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stay tuned folks. This is huge!!!