Treasury sets up digital tab for alcohol, tobacco dealers

The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau is setting up a system to accept certain forms with electronic signatures from cigarette and spirits dealers, the Treasury Department said in a final rule in today’s Federal Register.

Tobacco and alcoholic beverage wholesalers and retailers periodically file forms related to federal licenses, excise taxes and labeling. Digital signatures will reduce costs, improve quality and accessibility of data, and accelerate approvals, the bureau said.

A notice at www.ttb.gov will appear as soon as the bureau is ready to accept digitally signed forms, because the bureau still must develop the hardware and software components. Users might have to maintain paper documents for their files even after the bureau settles on its digital technology.

The Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act of 2000, or E-sign, validated the use of digital signatures in commerce.

The Government Paperwork Elimination Act, which agencies are to put into effect this month, supports implementation of such signatures.

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