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Agency Says Some Sellers Overpaying Alcohol, Tobacco Tax

March 3, 1991

WASHINGTON (AP) _ A federal agency appealing for LESS money from taxpayers? Sure, it can happen.

One of every five special excise tax returns filed by alcohol and tobacco sellers is overpaying an average of $100 apiece, a Treasury Department agency said Sunday.

Overpayments could be as high as $657 from some dealers, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms said.

The agency said the overpayments were being made because some dealers aren’t taking advantage of a special one-time tax break that Congress granted when higher excise taxes went into effect Jan. 1.

Part of the tax increase includes a ″floor-stocks tax″ on supplies of cigarettes, wine, beer and liquor that dealers had on hand Jan. 1. Merchants are allowed an exemption from the levy if stocks were no more than 500 gallons of alcoholic beverages or 30,000 cigarettes. If stocks were greater, a credit of up to $60 per return is allowed instead of an exemption.

The special tax returns are due June 30. The agency has checked 100,000 of those already filed and found 20 percent are overpaying by failing to claim the exemption or credit.

″ATF appreciates the compliance but does not want one cent more than the amounts owed,″ said Stephen E. Higgins, director of the agency. ″ATF will make every effort to return overpayments.″

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