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February 8, 2013

Greetings! We hope you are having a radiant and dynamic week! This edition includes information about the acting directors for our International Trade Division, an Oregon man recently sentenced to federal prison for tax fraud, two new American Viticultural Areas, and the recent update to our COLA form.

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In the TTB Newsletter, we compile the top TTB news of the week and other helpful information about the Bureau and the Federal alcohol and tobacco laws and regulations we enforce.

Please send any questions or comments to the Executive Liaison for Industry Matters at IndustryLiaison@ttb.gov/ and/or StateLiaison@ttb.gov/.

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ACTING DIRECTORS NAMED FOR INTERNATIONAL TRADE DIVISION

Karen Welch and Saul Cruz will serve as acting directors of our International Trade Division for February and March, respectively, as we seek a permanent director.

OREGON MAN SENTENCED TO FEDERAL PRISON FOR TAX FRAUD

On January 29, 2013, a judge sentenced 66-year-old William Myers of Cottage Grove, Oregon, to one year and one day in prison for failing to pay federal excise taxes and for filing more than 70 false excise tax returns, according to a January 29, 2013 press release from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Oregon.

"Failure to pay taxes is not a victimless crime. It robs the community of revenue and hurts law-abiding businesses," said Timothy Marsh, TTB's Deputy Director for Criminal Enforcement. "TTB is committed to ensuring a level playing field where businesses can compete on an equal and lawful basis."

In October 2012, Myers pleaded guilty (see "Oregon Man Pleads Guilty to Tax Fraud") to the charges and admitted to filing false returns for his company, the Side Pocket Food Company, for $879,000, between October 1, 2008, and August 31, 2011. As a licensed distilled spirits plant, Myers' company was required to file federal excise tax returns with TTB and to pay federal excise taxes to TTB.

ELKTON OREGON AND INDIANA UPLANDS AMERICAN VITICULTURAL AREAS APPROVED

On February 5, 2013, we published two final rules in the Federal Register establishing the Elkton Oregon and Indiana Uplands American Viticultural Areas (AVAs). These rulemakings were in response to petitions from local wine industry members. We designate viticultural areas to allow vintners to better describe the origin of their wines and to allow consumers to better identify wines they may purchase.

The approximately 74,900-acre Elkton Oregon viticultural area is in Douglas County, Oregon. This AVA lies totally within the Umpqua Valley AVA and the multi-county Southern Oregon AVA.

The Indiana Uplands AVA covers approximately 4,800-square miles in south-central Indiana. In this final rule, we also modified the boundary of the previously established 26,000-square mile Ohio River Valley AVA to eliminate a potential overlap with the new Indiana Uplands AVA. The modification decreases the size of the Ohio River Valley AVA by approximately 1,530 square miles.

Read the final rules for Elkton Oregon and Indiana Uplands. Read the complete rulemaking records for the Elkton Oregon and Indiana Uplands AVAs at Regulations.gov/.

TTB UPDATES COLA FORM

We recently published a revised version of our certificate of label approval (COLA) form—TTB Form 5100.31.

The updated COLA form's instructions now reflect that as of February 1, 2013, we are processing all paper applications electronically. We've also clarified—

  • The circumstances allowing you to make changes to the mandatory alcohol content statements on labels without sending a new application (item 11 on the list of allowable revisions), and
  • Our policy on returning COLAs sent to us by third-party filers.

Please note that we will continue to accept the previous version of the form (dated July 2012).

Read Industry Circular 2012-03 for more information about the changes we've made to improve the way we process paper COLA applications and an overview of how these changes may benefit you.