Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB)
TTB was created by the Homeland Security Act of 2002 and is the newest agency in the Department of the Treasury. When the Act divided the functions of the former Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms into two new organizations with separate responsibilities, TTB became tasked with enforcing and administering the laws governing the production and distribution of alcohol and tobacco products. TTB is responsible for:
One of TTB's top priorities is to establish and maintain a close working relationship with the industries it regulates. To accomplish this, TTB utilizes a variety of methods to assist members of the regulated industries, including small business entities and the general public, in complying with the laws and regulations TTB enforces.
Website. TTB utilizes the Internet as its main vehicle for communicating
with regulated industry members and the general public. TTB's website,
located at www.ttb.gov, contains:
Regulated industry DVD. TTB is developing an informational DVD that will serve as an electronic library for new and existing industry members to access industry-specific information and resources. This DVD will be available for distribution in September 2004.
Attendance at seminars and events. TTB routinely sends representatives to seminars and events to answer questions from members of the regulated industries, with an emphasis on establishing personal relationships with small business entities.
Customer service and support. TTB provides one-on-one expert technical advice on matters affecting the alcohol and tobacco industries through e-mail, telephone, and letterhead responses to inquiries from individuals and businesses. In addition, TTB utilizes customer service hotlines to answer questions from industry members, other governmental agencies, and the general public on any TTB topic. TTB's National Revenue Center, located in Cincinnati, Ohio, responds to approximately 80,000 telephone calls per year alone.
Plain language. As part of TTB's overall effort to reduce taxpayer burden and maintain good public relations, and facilitate compliance, TTB is in the process of revising all of its forms and regulations in plain language. Plain language uses the active voice, shorter sentences, and common, everyday words when possible to better communicate with the public.
Publications. TTB provides guidance on statutory and regulatory requirements to industry members and small business through various published documents. Examples include industry circulars, rulings, and procedures.
Taxpayer notifications. TTB maintains an automated late return reporting system that notifies taxpayers of a late-filed return or insufficient payment. This helps taxpayers avoid accumulated penalties and interest. In addition, TTB sends out yearly notices to known special occupational taxpayers to remind them of their responsibility to file a return and pay the tax. These taxpayer notifications are especially beneficial to small businesses that have limited resources to devote to government compliance monitoring.
Variances and alternate methods or procedures. TTB entertains requests from regulated industry members, which include small entities, for variances from existing regulatory requirements. These variances, which often take the form of alternate methods or procedures, are intended to provide flexibility to industry members in their business operations. These requests are normally granted when the proposed variance shows good cause, would not be contrary to law, and would not pose a threat to the revenue.
Voluntary disclosure program. TTB is considering the adoption of a voluntary disclosure program and has posted an outline of the program on the TTB website for public comment. The voluntary disclosure program would provide regulated industry members with an opportunity for reduced or avoided penalties when they voluntarily advise TTB of their noncompliance.
Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau Media Affairs point of contact: Tom Hogue, Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, 1310 G Street, NW, Box 12, Washington, DC 20005. Telephone: 202-453-2180, fax at 202-453-2912; or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.