Booze, cigarette tax forms to go online

Federal Register notice

The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau today published a final rule allowing companies to electronically sign and submit forms, but the bureau may not be able to accept them immediately.

Alcohol and Tobacco officials must develop several components in order to accept each different type of form, so it will take some time to complete the system, according to the Oct. 10 Federal Register notice. As they add each component, the bureau will make another announcement in the Federal Register to inform companies that they can register to submit that specific form.

Companies must still maintain paper copies of their documents if existing regulations require, but the bureau believes that electronic submission could cut costs, improve the quality and accessibility of data, speed up review and approval and make documents available at all times.

Several laws over the last four years — including the Government Paperwork Elimination Act (GPEA) of 1998 and the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce (E-SIGN) Act of 2000 — grant electronic signatures the same legal authority and protection as written ones.

The paperwork elimination law and policies from the Office of Management and Budget are pushing agencies to make as many services available electronically as possible. The GPEA deadline is this month.

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