The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) is part of the U.S. Treasury Department and is the primary federal regulator of the alcohol industry. TTB collects taxes on alcohol sales and enforces trade practice laws among industry participants. TTB helps maintain a level playing field and facilitates robust marketplace competition.
To ensure that TTB remains able to regulate the alcohol industry effectively, Congress should fully fund TTB. The number of businesses that TTB regulates has doubled over the past five years, while TTB staffing has been reduced. Last Congress, organizations representing all segments of the alcohol industry sent a letter to the House and the Senate appropriations committees expressing support for TTB.
TTB is the federal government’s third-largest revenue generating agency after the Internal Revenue Service and U.S. Customs and Border Protection. TTB also is the most efficient tax-collection agency, collecting $436 for every $1 spent. By comparison, the IRS collects $275 for every $1 spent.
Because of this effective collection, TTB should remain a bureau within the Treasury Department and not move to the IRS, which has been discussed.
TTB regulates 48,000 permitted alcohol beverage operations in the U.S., including more than 20,000 permitted wholesalers (distributors); 6,100 permitted breweries; nearly 10,400 permitted wineries; 1,900 liquor producers; and 10,000 alcohol importers.(Not all TTB-permitted operations are actively engaged in business activities.)
The TTB also works to enforce trade practice regulations at 620,000 licensed retailers across the country. To learn more about the history of federal trade practice regulation under the Federal Alcohol Administration Act of 1935 (FAA Act) and why the regulation of trade practices is important, consult NBWA's brief guide, Understanding Trade Practice Laws Under the Federal Alcohol Administration Act.
In 2016, in response to industry requests for clarification, the TTB issued guidance to address recent tied-house activities related to category management, shelf plans and shelf schematics and provide additional guidance for alcohol manufacturers, distributors and retailers.
The agency also reviews more than 100,000 labels and thousands of product formulas each year.
TTB protects consumers by enforcing regulations established by the Federal Alcohol Administration Act related to production, permitting, labeling and marketing.
TTB also investigates the illegal manufacture, distribution and sale of alcoholic beverages to prevent counterfeit, adulterated or illegally-produced products from reaching consumers.
In contrast to the U.S., countries with less effective regulatory systems have reported problems with adulterated and counterfeit alcohol and are experiencing widespread public health problems.
NBWA encourages Congress to fully fund TTB so it can regulate alcohol and collect federal excise taxes in an effective manner. NBWA also asks that TTB remain within the Treasury Department and not be moved to the IRS.