Importing Alcohol to Florida for Personal Consumption

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Traveling can be an exciting way to explore new places and cultures, but it’s important to know the rules and regulations when it comes to bringing alcohol back home. Whether you’re returning from a trip abroad or visiting another state within the US, there are both federal and state requirements that travelers need to follow to avoid any legal issues.

Florida’s Rules About Importing Alcohol

For those traveling to Florida, it’s important to understand that the state has specific requirements for importing alcohol for personal consumption. These rules apply even when the alcohol was purchased abroad and is intended for personal use. Florida requires that any person bringing in more than one gallon of alcohol for personal use must report it to the Florida Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco (ABT) and pay Florida excise taxes.

To comply with Florida’s regulations, travelers must complete an Application for and Permit to Import Alcoholic Beverages (Form ABT 4000A-035) and submit it to the ABT along with an inventory of the alcohol being imported, including the bottle size and volume. Because products originating in foreign countries are more likely to reflect measurements in liters, the ABT’s Gallonage Conversion Chart may help. Additionally, travelers must provide confirmation of the shipping and expected arrival dates in Florida and pay the appropriate Florida excise taxes.

For those who are active duty military service members and their families, the ABT may excuse them from paying Florida excise taxes on alcoholic beverages purchased overseas for personal consumption. However, they still must complete and file the import application, inventory, and confirmation of dates with the ABT, and submit a copy of their orders to a post in the United States or retirement papers. The ABT will determine whether to excuse payment of excise taxes on a case-by-case basis.

Federal Rules About Importing Alcohol

When it comes to federal requirements for importing alcohol for personal consumption, federal excise taxes and duties generally apply to all alcoholic beverages that are imported to the United States. The amount of duty and excise tax varies based on the type of alcohol being imported. See Federal Alcoholic Beverages Excise Tax Rates and US Harmonized Tariff Schedule Chapter 22.

Individuals importing alcohol beverage products into the United States on a one-time basis for personal use are not required to obtain a federal import permit. However, travelers must keep in mind that up to one liter of alcohol per person may be entered into the United States duty-free, and additional quantities may be entered but will be subject to duty and Federal Excise taxes, which will be assessed and collected at the Port of Entry.

It’s also important to note that alcoholic beverages purchased in duty-free shops are subject to duty and federal excise taxes when accompanying you into the United States. Furthermore, personal wine collections are not eligible for duty-free treatment on entry to the United States. There is no federal limit on the amount of alcohol someone may import into the United States for personal use, but large quantities might raise the suspicion that the importation is for commercial purposes. A US Customs and Board Protection (CBP) officer could require travelers to obtain a federal import permit before releasing the alcohol.

To avoid any legal issues, travelers should contact the CBP entry branch of the port of entry where their shipment will be entering the country in advance to discuss their situation with CBP. If travelers are shipping the product, it may also be useful to contact the commercial carrier in advance, as many have strict guidelines regarding the shipment of alcohol beverages.

Lastly, if travelers plan on giving away imported alcohol beverages as gifts to friends, neighbors, relatives, or others, or if the imported alcohol beverages are to be similarly distributed, the U.S. government health warning statement is required to appear on each container.

Do you have questions about importing alcohol to Florida for personal consumption? Contact us to schedule a consultation with a beverage attorney.

Because we’re attorneys: Disclaimer. Posted April 2, 2023.

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