A bi-partisan task force established by the United States Senate Committee on Finance indicated this week that it supports not only an extension of the two-year Federal Excise Tax (FET) reduction that expires at the end of this year, but permanent FET relief for the beverage alcohol industry.
In May, the committee announced that it had established a series of task forces to address a number of tax provisions that have expired or are set to expire. Among those was the Individual, Excise and Other Temporary Tax Policy Tax Force, charged with examining six temporary tax policies, including the temporary FET reduction on beverage alcohol that passed at the end of 2017 as part of the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act (CBMTRA). The CBMTRA, which is set to expire on December 31, 2019, lowered the FET from $13.50 to $2.70 per gallon for the first 100,000 proof gallons removed from bond.
The task force’s announcement of support for extended or permanent FET relief is a positive development for craft spirits producers, but American Craft Spirits Association (ACSA) CEO Margie A.S. Lehrman cautions that this is just one of many steps yet to come toward making permanent FET reduction a reality. “Until the provisions of the CBMTRA are on the floor for a vote and sent to the President’s desk for a signature, ACSA will not rest,” Lehrman says. “It’s a done deal WHEN it’s a done deal and not a moment before.”
Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS) and Sen. Robert Menendez co-lead that task force, which also includes Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT) and Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-NH). All four are co-sponsors of S.362, the 2019 version of CBMTRA.
ACSA urges members to continue calling your U.S. senators and representatives to tell your stories and help convince them to co-sponsor S.362 and its House equivalent, HR 1175. Time is running out!