TTB form 5000.8 allows for “Power of Attorney” status. What does that mean and when do you need to grant someone “POA” authority? The answer is simple but still manages to catch industry members by surprise, time and time again.
In general, a POA is required for anybody acting as a liaison between the company and the Alcohol & Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (“TTB”), unless the individual already has signing authority through corporate officer status or otherwise. This primarily includes compliance officers, office managers, and attorneys representing you in TTB matters, such as obtaining a basic permit or COLA approval. Additionally, POA is required for any individual filing monthly reports, updating paperwork, or even calling TTB to discuss their permit situation.
Although POA status can be seemly insignificant, there are frequent times in which a major business disturbance results from a key party not having it. For example, for anyone who has experienced a dreaded TTB audit, they are likely aware that TTB personnel will only speak to those who have POA status. This means that if a compliance officer has been filing monthly report for years, but the company’s owner signed off on each report, the TTB agent will only speak with the owner, regardless of the fact the compliance officer may be the only one who can explain alleged discrepancies in the reports. Needless to say, the results of such a situation can have a devastating effect on business.
Having worked at TTB before law school, I assisted in approving POA forms and witnessed the frequent business disturbances that can occur when the right people do not have POA status. The best practice is to always stay on top of which employees need a POA and send in the form early on to avoid a last minute scramble once a problem occurs.