The Glory of Mississippi Direct Wine Shipping
Last year the state of Mississippi passed a direct wine shipping bill that required all winery shipments to consumers to be sent not to their homes but to Mississippi package stores. Recently the head of the Mississippi Independent Package Store Association, Tasho Katsaboulas, sent a message to MS package stores explaining how this direct shipping system will work. I invite you to read the explanation below and behold the mighty wisdom of the state of Mississippi. (all highlighting is mine):
House Bill 1088, as passed by the 2020 Mississippi Legislature, authorizes individuals to buy wine (still and sparkling) from wineries and have it shipped to a licensed package retailer. The bill limits individuals to ten (10) cases per year. The bill went into effect on January 1, 2021, so it is lawful for you to provide this service now.
The alternatives to this system would absolutely devastate our stores. Accordingly, we urge you to do an outstanding job of serving your customers in this very important way. Package stores are allowed to charge a convenience fee of their choosing for providing this service. Because the customer is paying for the wine upfront, many of the stores that I’ve spoken with are considering a fee of around 10%.
- Customer must obtain approval from the package store prior to ordering.
- Retailer notifies the customer of their convenience fee and requests the following required info: item description, bottle size, number of cases, bottles per case, total retail cost, purchase date, delivery date, carrier name, tracking number, and a copy of the purchaser’s invoice for TAP.
- Customer places the order with the winery, pays the winery for the wine, provides the package retailer’s name and address for the shipment, and conveys the required info (from #2 above) to the retailer.
- Once the wine is received by the retailer, the retailer must contact the customer within two (2) days.
- When the customer comes in for the wine, the retailer will follow the TAP instructions below to calculate and collect Mississippi’s excise tax, statutory markups, and sales tax from the customer and pay the excise tax and markups through TAP.
- The retailer will file and pay the Mississippi sales tax (as determined using the TAP instructions below) on their regular monthly sales tax return. Note: Wine shipped to a permittee in Jackson or Tupelo is not subject to the Jackson or Tupelo special levy.
- If the customer does not pick up the wine within thirty (30) days of receiving notification of its delivery, the retailer may sell the wine throughs its regular inventory.
- Log Into TAP
- Select your “Liquor Retailer” account
- Select the Current Period (31-Jan-2021, etc.)
- Under I Want To (Upper Right Corner), select “Submit a Retailer Wine Return”
- Click “Enter Direct Winery Sales Calculations Worksheet” and complete the worksheet.
- Enter the Carrier Name, Delivery Date & Tracking Number. The remainder will populate from the worksheet in Step 5.
- Use “Add Purchaser’s Invoice” to upload your customer’s invoice, and submit the form.
- The retailer will re-enter their password (which acts as their signature) and receive a confirmation number.
- On the confirmation page, the retailer can choose to make a payment by clicking “Schedule Payment”, re-entering the payment amount to confirm it, selecting “Submit”, and re-entering their password as their signature to confirm the payment. The retailer will receive a confirmation number for the payment.
***If the customer chooses not to submit a payment, the payment will be drafted the next time the ABC Payment Job stream runs. ***
If you have any questions, please call the MS ABC.
My favorite part of this message is the last line: “if you have any questions, please call the MS ABC.” My first question would be how does the customer provide the retailer with their invoice from the winery before they have paid the winery? But I’m sure they’ll work that one out.
But did you catch the fee most retailers will charge customers for their service? 10% of the invoice. Despite the fact that the work the retailer must carry out cost them the same time and effort whether the wine purchased costs $100 or $1, they charge a 10% fee. And by the way, this is all on top of the sales tax, the excise tax and the statutory markup. By the way, that statutory markup is 27.5%
So, just for shits and giggles, what happens if a Mississippi wine lover buys a $100 bottle of wine from a California winery. $100 + $10 (shipping) + $1.00 (excise tax) + $7 (sales tax) + $27.50 (statutory markup) + $10 (retailer fee) = $155.50. Plus, the buyer gets the pleasure of having to go to the store to pick up the wine.
But it’s worth it because “the alternatives to this system would absolutely devastate our stores.”
Honestly, this might be the dumbest wine shipping system I’ve ever seen…and keep in mind, Utah tried to pass something called a wine club shipping bill.