Guide: How to get relief from TTB if you experienced damage from Northern California wildfires

October 16, 2017

What a difficult and tragic week it has been for everyone impacted by the Northern California fires.  Though Compli’s offices are located about four hours south of the fires, we are acutely aware of the devastating losses have impacted our families, friends, colleagues, and communities. One remote team member in Northern California evacuated temporarily, but so far has been spared from property damage, and another team member joined family in Sonoma County recently to lend a hand to those in need.

The damage and disruption of jobs, homes, businesses, vineyards, wineries, forest land, and other property are weighing heavily on us. Our team has been racking our brains for ways that we can support those impacted by the fires. One solution  is to do what we know best by assisting wineries and vineyards in seeking relief from multiple different government agencies.

Our friends at Hinman and Carmichael outlined some additional resources available from the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB), California Board of Equalization (BOE), the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC), California Department of Insurance, US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA).

TTB Disaster Relief Guide

TTB has several different resources available for wineries that have experienced damage. TTB’s disaster relief options available for victims of the Northern California fires are similar to those that were made available for the Napa Earthquake, as well as Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Harvey.


For wineries that have experienced fire damage, here’s a guide for how to get help from TTB.


1) Double check that you’re in a declared major disaster area.
FEMA maintains a list of declared disasters on their website. As of Sunday, October 15th, the following California wildfires have received official declaration:
California Wildfires (DR-4344) (major disaster declaration)


2) Request a waiver of excise tax penalties.
If you have been, or will be late in filling your federal excise tax forms, TTB will waive penalties and fees for reasonable late filing. To apply, contact the TTB National Revenue Center (NRC) by phone at 877-882-3277, using their online contact form, or by mail at the following address:


550 Main Street, Room 8002
Cincinnati, OH 45202-5215


3) File a claim for excise tax refund if your products were damaged.
TTB’s “When Disaster Strikes” memo outlines the process for filing a 5620.8 claim for credit or refund of Federal excise taxes paid on beverage alcohol products that were lost, rendered unmarketable, or condemned. Note this claim can be filed by wineries, retailers, wholesalers, importers, or export warehouse proprietors, but the claims must be filed within 6 months and cannot be filed for product already covered by insurance.


4) Contact us for help.
Our team is here to help anybody that needs help navigating these different options. Our TTB experts will help current Compli clients file the necessary forms, including the 5620.8. For any wineries that are not currently Compli clients, please contact us if you want help. We’ll schedule a free consultation to get you everything you need to seek relief.


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