A law proposed by New York State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, Jr. to exempt farm wineries and craft breweries from what he terms “a burdensome tax filing requirement” was unanimously passed by the Assembly this week.
Under the current law, all beer, wine and liquor wholesalers are required to report sales made to restaurants, bars and other retailers to the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance. Farm wineries and craft breweries were included in the definition of a wholesaler who had to comply with this law. Thiele’s legislation, which Governor Andrew Cuomo made part of his 2012 legislative program, exempts farm wineries and craft breweries from complying with the law, which Thiele said was a costly process and a burdensome paperwork requirement.
This week, Thiele said the restrictions already placed on farm wineries and craft breweries — farm wineries cannot produce more than 150,000 gallons annually, craft breweries are restricted to 35,000 gallons each year — it is difficult for them to afford this requirement. He added that farm wineries and craft breweries will still be required to maintain sales records through requirements imposed on them by the State Liquor Authority (SLA) and that the Department of Taxation and Finance can request those records.
“Farm wineries and craft breweries are small and mostly family operations that have struggled to comply with this needless filing requirement,” said Thiele. “The burden and cost on business far outweighs any benefit to the state. There are other ways that the State Tax Department can obtain this information. In particular, this legislation will benefit the farm winery operations on the East End. Our wineries can better use their time to grow their businesses and promote their product, rather than filling out costly paperwork.”
The legislation was supported by the Long Island Farm Bureau and is currently in the State Senate Finance Committee where it awaits further action.