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Legislation Would Save Wineries Money, Time

Measure passed unanimously in the New York State Assembly, still awaiting Senate action.

Legislation that could lift an onerous burden from East End farm wineries and craft breweries passed unanimously in the New York State Assembly this week.

According to , who crafted the legislation, the measure would exempt farm wineries and craft breweries from a tax filing requirement.

The legislation, which aims to offer relief to small businesses struggling in today's economy, passed in a unanimous vote of 140-0 in the Assembly and is currently in the State Senate Finance Committee awaiting further action.

The vote was embraced by the local agricultural community. "The Long Island Farm Bureau supports this legislation that reduces paperwork and promotes regulatory reform," said Joseph Gergela, the executive directive of the LIFB. "Certainly, tax reform can help the industry, bottom line. The best land preservation is for the industry to be profitable."

According to Thiele, under current state law, all beer, wine and liquor wholesalers are required to report sales made to the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance.

Farm wineries and craft breweries were included within the definition of which wholesalers were required to report — but Thiele's legislation would exempt wineries as well as craft breweries from this "costly and burdensome paperwork requirement," he said.

"Our wineries can better use their time to grow their businesses and promote their product, rather than filling out costly paperwork," Thiele said.

A farm winery license limits the operation to producing no more than 150,000 gallons annually, while a farm distillery license limits production to 35,000 gallons, Thiele noted.

Due to the smaller sizes of the businesses, it is difficult for farm wineries and distilleries to absorb the cost of complying with the annual filing requirement, Thiele said.

Farm wineries and distilleries will still be required to maintain sales records, according to State Liquor Authority requirements, which will be available to the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance upon request.

"Farm wineries and craft breweries are small and mostly family operations that have struggled to comply with this needless filing requirement," Thiele said. "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."

raydog June 05, 2012 at 03:45 PM
Fred Thiele said he didn't want to grandstand and submit any legislation that would begin to address the lack of taxes that golf courses pay, despite the environmental and fiscal havoc they bring to our area. Now, he is going to carve out a special dispensation for the multi-millionaire winery owners who are also destroying our water ways with copious amounts of toxic, cancer causing poisons. Good lookin' out there Fred.
Hazel Wilkonson the First June 05, 2012 at 04:37 PM
So we cut education and services for the poor, but give tax breaks to wineries?
William Swiskey sr June 05, 2012 at 09:42 PM
Freddie Boy has lost it does he really think most of these businesses are really run by struggling families. The state should put a fifty cent tax on each glass of wine or mixed drink sold and dedicate it to education. School taxes would drop sharply and people would still drink. Who's pocket are the politicos in?
Sal Diliberto June 06, 2012 at 10:55 AM
This proposed law does not in any way reduce the taxes paid by a farm winery. It merely reduces the amount of burdensome paperwork currently required of them. You should read and understand the law before making your comments.
Bill Edwards June 06, 2012 at 11:55 AM
This is not a tax break; it's simply a reduction in paperwork requirements!
Bill Edwards June 06, 2012 at 12:01 PM
There s zero evidence that vineyards are affecting waterways any more than any other type of agriculture. If the vineyards don't succeed as businesses, their North Fork acreage would then be available for residential development; believe me when I say that a few hundred more homes WOULD impact the environment.
James from Suffolk June 08, 2012 at 09:32 AM
It is certainly a complex issue.The economic development of the east end is critical to the future of long Island.
Republican until i die. June 08, 2012 at 04:09 PM
Businesses that are successful create jobs .Tax incentives are a way to help business be successful.I am all for it!

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