Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau

The Homeland Security Act of 2002 split the functions of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) into two parts.  The Act kept alcohol and tobacco excise tax functions and regulations in Treasury under a new bureau and transferred firearms and explosives functions to the Department of Justice.  The Treasury Department officially named the new bureau the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) on January 24, 2003.  TTB enforces and administers laws covering the production, distribution, and use of alcohol and tobacco products and collects excise taxes on alcohol, tobacco, firearms, and ammunition.  As part of Treasury�s Office of Tax Policy, TTB also develops and implements tax policy related to the alcohol and tobacco industries.

TTB�s tax collection duties date back to the beginning of the nation when the first internal revenue law of 1791 taxed both liquor and tobacco.  The Whiskey Rebellion of 1794 tested the government�s authority when western Pennsylvania farmers took up arms against the excise tax.  At the urging of Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton, President George Washington called up federal troops to suppress the rebellion and the government showed its determination to enforce its revenue laws.

The Alcohol Tax Unit (ATU) was established in the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in 1934.  The unit administered internal revenue laws that governed the alcohol industry after the end of Prohibition.  In 1951, the IRS transferred tobacco tax functions to ATU and renamed the unit the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax Division.  On July 1, 1972, these tax and regulatory functions were separated from the IRS when Treasury created ATF.

Last Updated: 10/3/2010 9:55 AM