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MrMooCow
08-13-2011, 10:20 PM
So with the economy in the tank, you're seeing more and more people return to bartering (including using formal bartering networks). Other then building roads, I pretty much only have one talent/skill, and that's making booze. Now normally, because the government hates business and entrepreneurs, this does me no good. However, I chanced to run across the carpenter who made the custom cabinets in my condo. Somewhere in our discussion on house buying, he said he would be open to the idea of building me a bar for my new house in exchange for some custom made homebrew (I buy materials, he provides the skills and labor for the bar; Vice versa for booze).

This got me thinking, what other home repair/improvement services might I be able to obtain via booze? My regular handyman is a good old boy, who employs good old boy Poles. I bet I could get them to remodel my bathroom in exchange for booze. My neighbor's kid is a professional painter. My vet seemed to really like the Christmas cyser I gave him. Etc, etc.

So the question becomes, is that illegal? And more importantly, when does the TTB take notice and send their Jackboots after you?

Technically, I'd say the answer to the first is "Yes". The TTB rules and regulations say you can't sell booze without a license, but makes no mention of trading. At first I thought maybe there was a chance of a loophole, but a bit of searching finds that the IRS treats bartering exactly as income. If the IRS treats it like income, I should think the TTB would as well.

The real question then becomes, how much do they pay attention? I'm looking at "BarterQuest", and I'm seeing all manner of services being offered that would require all kinds of licensing and certifications if you were doing it for cash. This implies to me that the various regulatory agencies aren't really paying a lot of attention to the bartering world.

Anyway, just something rattling around the old skull. I'm curious if anyone has tried any kind of significant bartering of their booze, or seen anything regarding how much enforcement the government is doing on such things.

- Brett

wildoates
08-14-2011, 12:50 AM
I dunno, but it's a very good question. I know that technically, the IRS expects you to claim fair value on your taxes for bartered goods, but I don't know about homebrew.

AToE
08-14-2011, 02:03 AM
I'm almost certain it's illegal, but so's speeding. Unfortunately when it comes to money and alcohol, both of our governments get pretty uppity so the risks go up. If hypothetically a person did such a thing, not talking about it, especially on the net, would be key. ;)

fatbloke
08-14-2011, 04:20 AM
I'd suspect that the reg's would be similar to over here for things like that i.e. that they can prevent it as it's obtaining goods and/or services that have applicable pecuniary value.

This is usually the case when "excise goods" are concerned (and more so, given that you lot in the US not only have to put up with the Federal regulation, but also the various State regulations).

They've usually closed all of those kind of loopholes.

Sure, it's possible that they haven't, but given that there's "an extra set of eye's" on the part of the regulators (if State have missed it, then Federal haven't and vice versa) I strongly suspect that it's a "no no", unless it's "done on the QT"

kudapucat
08-14-2011, 05:22 AM
I regularly give my honey supplier mead, as it's an example of what her honey produces. She gives me a good rate on honey, as I buy in bulk.
The tea stallholder nearby also likes mead. I give him a bottle now and then, and chat lots. He often gives me some tea, I suppose as a loss leader, to advertise, and perhaps because he likes my mead.
Either way, these are gifts freely given, and no bartering takes place.

fatbloke
08-14-2011, 09:02 AM
I regularly give my honey supplier mead, as it's an example of what her honey produces. She gives me a good rate on honey, as I buy in bulk.
The tea stallholder nearby also likes mead. I give him a bottle now and then, and chat lots. He often gives me some tea, I suppose as a loss leader, to advertise, and perhaps because he likes my mead.
Either way, these are gifts freely given, and no bartering takes place.
Which is, I suspect, about the only way it can be legally distributed i.e. without licensing/registration etc with the tax authorities.

Lets face it, we're all "up sh1t creek, without a paddle" with this - as it seems that out of the major, industrialised, english speaking nations, that is really enlightened about this, is the Kiwi's. They allow all manner of home brew making, including distillation.... And it's proved a success, as their tax revenues have gone up since they Ok'd everything (well, according to various articles I've read anyway).....

MrMooCow
08-14-2011, 09:37 AM
That's one of the things that's so frustrating about the whole thing. It's easier for me to legally own a 50 cal sniper rifle then it is to make a little beer or wine to sell as a side business. "Want to make a little money on home made beer? Nope, sorry, you might hurt someone. What? You'd like to purchase a weapon pretty much designed only for killing humans, with an effective range of almost 6000 feet? Go right ahead!" (Lest we get distracted by snark, I do understand that 50 cal rifles can be used for other things besides killing humans).

I can commercially make food, build cars/airplanes, perform structural carpentry/masonry, advise people on health matters.... all easier and with fewer restrictions then the making of alcohol. And all of those with at least as great a potential for harm as making wine and beer.

I'd be fine with requiring a basic license, maybe some safety classes. I'll pay taxes on the proceeds, Caesar can have his pound of flesh, I just don't get why the government is so paranoid about booze made at home.

*pause, deep breath*

Actually, I do. I expect that the heavy restrictions are put in place by the industry lobbyists because they know that high priced wine/beer is a scam. Anyone with half a brain can make a product just as good as 99% of the commercial stuff, at a far lower cost, and just as safely. I'll bite on distillation needing to be well regulated, but some basic safety classes are all you should need to get a commercial license to produce small quantities of wine/booze. The free market will take care of the folks who produce vinegar.

I'm ranting aren't I? I'm starting to turn into the gotmead equivalent of that homeless guy who stands on the corner mumbling to himself and twitching violently.

*grumble* *twitch* *mumble*

TheAlchemist
08-14-2011, 10:29 AM
I regularly give my honey supplier mead, as it's an example of what her honey produces. She gives me a good rate on honey, as I buy in bulk.
The tea stallholder nearby also likes mead. I give him a bottle now and then, and chat lots. He often gives me some tea, I suppose as a loss leader, to advertise, and perhaps because he likes my mead.
Either way, these are gifts freely given, and no bartering takes place.

Indeed, the way we use language has a powerful impact on the way we think.

In the US it is legal to make a gift to the person of your choice for a value of $10K every year without paying taxes on that value.

There is no law that I know of that would prevent you from making a gift of your homebrew skills to your friend the vet. Likewise, your carpenter is at liberty to make a gift of carpentry skills to you.

These are gifts. Just say it out loud. "I'd be happy to offer you a gift of the use of my homebrew skills..."

If it is a barter, then, as Jesus would say, "Pay Caesar what's due Caesar."

As an aside, on the subject of industry lobbyists, I'm hoping to see Farmageddon...

commonsenseman
08-14-2011, 11:37 AM
First of all, that's a really good idea.

Second of all, you were just giving him some "yeast samples" in exchange for his services, I don't see how that's a problem ;D

Third, I'm guessing that regulatory agencies are going to be paying more & more attention to bartering as time goes on. Check out the barter section on craigslist, it's getting pretty big.

Fourth, don't put up an ad on craigslist for free beer.

TheAlchemist
08-14-2011, 11:46 AM
...you were just giving him some "yeast samples" in exchange for his services, I don't see how that's a problem ;D



Don't use the term "in exchange for" when referring to a gift. If it's "in exchange for" then it's a barter and subject to tax.

A Gift is a gift. Freely given. No strings...of course, if the recipient has a gift for you, that's nice...;)

commonsenseman
08-14-2011, 11:54 AM
Don't use the term "in exchange for" when referring to a gift. If it's "in exchange for" then it's a barter and subject to tax.

A Gift is a gift. Freely given. No strings...of course, if the recipient has a gift for you, that's nice...;)

Good call. I guess I was just trying to get around the alcohol part of it.

I do freely give away yeast samples anyway, why not give them to somebody who has skills?

Chevette Girl
08-14-2011, 05:48 PM
Back in the way-back, I used to "earn" a bottle of mead every year at a festival by giving the meadmaker a backrub, it's not a skill I could earn income with either, so it's not like the gov't loses anything. I don't know if the gov't cares if you trade services for services like that, for years I used to barter one bottle of wine per riding lesson from one of my coaches, the gov't didn't lose out because I'm not allowed to sell the stuff anyway and she doesn't claim the income from lessons anyway. I don't know how big the transaction has to be before either of our governments would take notice. And if you're purchasing the materials for your reno and he's performing the labour for mead, well, that's between you and him, isn't it? If it's illegal, I'm guilty too, with my last Chevette, I often had the help of a mechanic who'd work for beer. <shrug> I guess it's just a matter of where the line is drawn.

Then there are some companies who'll do your repair job for cash, tax-free, if you'll forego the receipt (which I believe IS blatantly illegal, although I'm sure there are loopholes somewhere, like gifting, which is how we did it at craft sales when trading our goods with those of another vendor).

One of my associates is involved with two different barter networks, and the way it works (here anyway), is that you have an account of "barter dollars", if you "sell" something, you get barter dollars, and you "buy" things with barter dollars. There is a paper trail on it and sales taxes are paid so it's all above-board as far as that goes, but whether or not it's claimed as "income" for tax purposes depends on the legitimacy of the vendor, I guess...

JayH
08-14-2011, 06:32 PM
Many years ago while I was still tuning airplanes upside down for fun my instructor had one of the top, one of a kind aerobatic airplanes going. If you happen to be into airshows I know you would recognize it.

Anyway on a couple if times as a friend I bought one of his t-shirts ($200.00). It was one of the ways he knew who his real friends were. He also used to take his real fiends up for free rides and (on occasion) actually let them fly his toy.

I'm sure there is some way you could find out who would be willing to say give you as a friend some $'s or trade for your art work. The fact that that art work would happen to be able to be easily placed on that free bottle of yeast samples you gave them isn't your business.

Again, make sure they are your friend and not some government spy :-)


Cheers
Jay

wildoates
08-14-2011, 06:37 PM
Love airshows, and it sounds like a great price for a t-shirt. :)

sarend
08-14-2011, 08:12 PM
MrMooCow, I wouldn't worry too much about it. I have a family member who used to own an aviation business (that is how I achieved my private pilots license), then a limo business (after 9-11 killed his plane business) and now he has another business. He always told me, "The bartering system is alive and well in ...... City, Arizona." He never claimed anything.

Now, was that wrong per the laws? Yes. But, are we paying more in taxes now than what caused our founding fathers to revolt? Yes.

I have filled my elk tag here in Arizona and used some of the meat for auto repairs. Elk meat is hard to come by, and it is considered organic meat, of course.

I believe if a person sticks to the triple-S philosopy, they will be OK.

What is the triple-S? Houndsmen have practiced it since some fool decided to re-introduce wolves back into the western states. Remember, when you buy a purebread coon hound, train them, compete with them to get titles, and use them as part of your guide service; they are worth $1000s. So, when you find your best dog dead at the jaws of a wolf, you have lost $1000s of dollars and years of preparation. So, they Shoot, Shovel and Shutup. Meaning they don't brag to anyone. No one knows about it save for God.

If you barter a few bottles of mead and don't make it public knowlege, then I think you will be Ok. If someone official asks, then you can always say you and the other person are friends and each gave the other the goods/services out of friendship. If asked, I would have said I shared my elk meat with a friend because he was my friend. And, he worked on my car because he knew I was all thumbs and needed the help.

Stephen

MrMooCow
08-14-2011, 11:20 PM
Alrighty, so now let's pull this in a bit. I rent my spare room out. Could my roommate "buy into" my mead/wine/beer making hobby? IE, could he give me an extra $50/month for the express purpose of buying ingredients to make booze with?

Obviously, this is easy as shit to do on the QT. But could you do it completely above board? The relevant law seems to be:

Sec. 24.75 Wine for personal or family use.

(a) General. Any adult may, without payment of tax, produce wine for personal or family use and not for sale.

(b) Quantity. The aggregate amount of wine that may be produced exempt from tax with respect to any household may not exceed:

(1) 200 gallons per calendar year for a household in which two or more adults reside, or

(2) 100 gallons per calendar year if there is only one adult residing in the household.

Now, based on that, could I say in my lease something like "Rent is $600/month, and includes room and utilities. For an additional $50/month renter may have access to the bar and all booze contained therein." Where I then keep the bar stocked with tasty, tasty homebrew?

My roommate is not /family/, but he is a member of my household. Would this functionally be any different then any other shared household expense?

Discuss amongst yourselves.

AToE
08-14-2011, 11:40 PM
(b) Quantity. The aggregate amount of wine that may be produced exempt from tax with respect to any household may not exceed:

(1) 200 gallons per calendar year for a household in which two or more adults reside, or

(2) 100 gallons per calendar year if there is only one adult residing in the household.[/I]


Wow, your state is tight with the booze! Not that I'd ever exceed those amounts, but where I live we can have in our possesion at any one time, up to 300gal of cider, PLUS 300gal of beer, PLUS 300gal of wine (inluding mead) per household (all of these only talking of homebrew obviously). And the trick to that is that there actually is literally no limit to how much you can make, just how much you can have on-hand at any one point. If I could give the stuff away at a fast enough rate I could brew 300 gallons of EACH per week as long as I ditched it all before the next batch. Pretty cool stuff! ;)

Now, as far as people "pitching in" here's how I would imagine it would work. They would have to be of the same household, and the amounts given would have to in no way exceed the material cost of what they are consuming per month (I'm no lawyer but that makes sense to me). Also, the way you're saying, with them having access to homebrew for $$$ - no no no, you're in bad territory there, that's clearly sales of alcohol.

You want that made simpler? They're "not" pitching in, you're all "making it together". Make sure they know enough of the process to explain what their part would be in the process (hell, if you wanted you could actually make them help, why not?!), and then there is no exchange of anything, it was never your mead being given to them and their money being given to you, it was all of you making something together. This should make things much easier.

Within a household I can''t see anything being provable as far as exchange of goods goes. When you start going into tradespeople and such though you're on thin ice for sure - and plausible deniability kinda goes out the window when you start a thread on the subject on an internet forum!;)

As far as doing it totally on the up and up, the only way is if you're all pitching in and making brew together. Anything other than that is selling booze.

JSquared
08-14-2011, 11:52 PM
MrMooCow, Yes you are legally able to put that in a lease. And being that renting is a business transaction you would pay taxes on that $600 as well as the $50 "bar access fee". Now the problem comes in to the legality of the bar. You would have to have a liquor license or be registered as a private club. (at least in this state)

Now if you happen to have a rent of $650 and you use the "extra" to make Booze with it then he is a member of the household and you can produce the higher limit of 200 gal and he can consume his share. I know this because I can't get married to my partner is this state but because we live together I can produce the higher limit.

AToE
08-14-2011, 11:58 PM
I know this because I can't get married to my partner is this state but because we live together I can produce the higher limit.

Ahah, well at least there's some benifit! ;) Just move up to Canada, nearly unlimited homebrew and marriage for all! ;D

Chevette Girl
08-15-2011, 12:25 AM
We have a lot of brew-on-site places around here and the way they get around it is exactly as discussed you're partnering to make the wine - and apparently the legal line here is that if you throw the yeast in, you made the booze, so the brew place isn't selling you wine, but since they make sure you pitch the yeast packet, the $$ you pay them is rental of premises and equipment.

So call it a bottle deposit on your line item list for your renter. But honestly, since you're not making a profit on the proceeds, I'd figure you could take his $50 under the table as long as he pitches yeast now and then, then you're partners. The other way is that access to the rec room containing the bar is extra, charge him an extra $50 on his entire rent bill for use of one more room in the house. The booze just happens to be in the bar.

kudapucat
08-15-2011, 12:51 AM
Yeah I agree... add "full use of homebrew equipmewnt and ingredients" to the lease. This of course includes anything produced.

JSquared
08-15-2011, 01:29 AM
You can't put it in the lease since that is a business contract. It would have to be a separate obligatory contract for either the "brewing equipment" or the " Bar room" idea. As soon as it is in a business document of any type then the IRS and therefore other regulatory agencies are involved and you are selling.

Loadnabox
08-15-2011, 03:36 PM
(Lest we get distracted by snark, I do understand that 50 cal rifles can be used for other things besides killing humans).


Not much use hunting, but the cool factor of having one in your back window exceeds the scale's capacity :-D



hell, if you wanted you could actually make them help, why not?!


Fill this bucket with water please... Thanks for the help! :)

kudapucat
08-15-2011, 05:27 PM
Oh yeah, my labels involved a gratuity to the artist too.
Thing I really like about the gifting, is that the price is not argued, it's simply decided apon by the person who pays.
Gotta be careful though, if your gratuity is insufficient, you may piss em off, and that's no good for the future.

skunkboy
08-15-2011, 08:40 PM
I've been know to trade bottles for honey, and if they happen to contain anything that is probably because I forgot to check that ... ;-)

MrMooCow
08-15-2011, 09:36 PM
As soon as it is in a business document of any type then the IRS and therefore other regulatory agencies are involved and you are selling.

You know, I actually have to disagree slightly with your logic. The lease includes provisions for paying for utilities. If I had an arrangement in which we just split the utility bill in half, but then I used the gas appliances more then my roommate, I haven't "profited" off the "sale" of gas. From a purely logical stand point I have (he paid for X butt loads of gas, but only used X/2 butt loads, but did not receive a refund, then I basically profited), and would be in violation of US and Illinois law which requires one to be licensed to sell natural gas.

The law states that any adult can produce booze for personal and family consumption. It further states that each household that has two or more adults living in it may produce up to 200 gallons of booze. It doesn't say the household must comprise married couples or family members. Nor does it say that both adults have to be involved in the booze making.

I should think that so long as I keep good records that show how much material I purchase, how much money my roommates contribute, and maybe even how much they drink, I'd be covered.

Correction. In a logical and rational world, that would be more then enough. They may still go with your interpretation. The government is prone to long running bouts of ridiculousness.

Of course, we'll know soon. I just went ahead and sent them an e-mail. Realistically speaking, enforcement is next to impossible in this specific case. It's just a matter of whether I can actually advertise the potential arrangement or not.

Worst that happens is the ATF kicks my door in! ;D

JSquared
08-15-2011, 11:19 PM
The law states that any adult can produce booze for personal and family consumption. It further states that each household that has two or more adults living in it may produce up to 200 gallons of booze. It doesn't say the household must comprise married couples or family members. Nor does it say that both adults have to be involved in the booze making.

I agree with this. As I said before because my partner and I live together then I can produce for both of our personal use even though we can't be married... But the key is I can't sell it to him.


I should think that so long as I keep good records that show how much material I purchase, how much money my roommates contribute, and maybe even how much they drink, I'd be covered.

No money can exchange, in written form, for what I make and he drinks. This is where bad things can happen. Now if its a verbal contract, thats a different story...

kudapucat
08-15-2011, 11:24 PM
No money can exchange, in written form, for what I make and he drinks. This is where bad things can happen. Now if its a verbal contract, thats a different story...

yes, but raw ingredients can be issued in the lease, as well as use of equipment.
Then as a member of the household he can drink the booze. But he can only buy it prior to fermenting.

MrMooCow
08-16-2011, 07:39 AM
Ultimately, the TTB will interpret how they will. However, I think you're making an overly aggressive interpretation. A couple of reasons:

1. As noted before, I purchase natural gas from Nicor. My roommate Brian pays me half the bill. This is written explicitly in the lease, but the State did not require me to purchase a license to sell natural gas. If I were to purchase natural gas from Nicor, and sell it to my neighbor Joe, then I would need a license.

2. What I'm suggesting is pretty much the same thing. You can drink the booze in the bar, if you pay half the material costs. In a logical universe, this is the same as saying "You can use the dryer, if you pay 1/2 the gas cost."

3. If I go to the grocery store, buy a 12 pack for $20, come home, and tell my roommate "You owe me $10 for the beer", I don't have to fear being arrested for reselling alcohol. Technically, that's what I've done. For that matter, I can throw a party, and charge people $10/head to cover the cost of food and drinks.

4. I just realized my homebrew club did exactly what I'm suggesting for their annual picnic. It was $10/person. This got you access to the picnic shelter, charcoal for the grill, and all the homebrew booze you can drink. The City of Darien didn't blink when we asked for a permit, just told us we needed to pay $10 for a liquor distribution permit and $100 for an insurance bond. Given that 30+ people attended, we clearly made a profit off of the arrangement. It was a totally public event, anyone could attend.

Loadnabox
08-16-2011, 09:14 AM
4. I just realized my homebrew club did exactly what I'm suggesting for their annual picnic. It was $10/person. This got you access to the picnic shelter, charcoal for the grill, and all the homebrew booze you can drink. The City of Darien didn't blink when we asked for a permit, just told us we needed to pay $10 for a liquor distribution permit and $100 for an insurance bond. Given that 30+ people attended, we clearly made a profit off of the arrangement. It was a totally public event, anyone could attend.

That permit is a temporary liquor license similar to what a bar or restaurant needs, but on a shorter term.

MrMooCow
08-16-2011, 09:30 AM
Yes. Except we were also producing it, which the license can't possibly cover.

- Brett

Sent from my DROID2 GLOBAL using Tapatalk

AToE
08-16-2011, 01:03 PM
I still think the question is whether they'd turn a blind eye, because I'm still very sure that if they actually decided to look this would be straight up illegal.

I think the main difference is between certain things in your lease being interpreted or not interpreted as selling goods, versus being or not being interpreted as selling a controlled substance. You're talking about the difference between someone selling their garden vegetables and being a drug dealer/manufacturer essentially (yes, that's some hyperbole indeed! But still, you see my point I think, and nothing works for making a point like some good old hyperbole! ;D)

I agree with you that what you're proposing makes perfect sense in logical-land. And if what you're proposing was looked at in terms of the raw materials, then you'd be all good - it is indeed probably just like gas for the stove or whatever - but if it was looked at by the gov in terms of the final product, then it's not so happygoodtimes.

I don't think the issue here is income tax, sales of goods or anything like that. I think the issue is selling alcohol without a liscense (dispite the great loophole you've got, they've got lawyers whos job it is to smash loopholes) and also manufacturing alcohol for sale. You've already pointed out that you know this I realize, I'm just pointing it out for anyone else reading who might accidentally go do this!

I'm not sure about the US with it's tougher laws on "drugs" but up here in Canada I could honestly see them taking this even more seriously than if you were growing weed for personal use, and putting the seeds and fertilizer (both of which I think are legal here) on your rental agreement so that your roommate could sample from the weed bar. ;)

JSquared
08-16-2011, 03:27 PM
I still think the question is whether they'd turn a blind eye, because I'm still very sure that if they actually decided to look this would be straight up illegal.

This is exactly the point. Can you do these things and get away? Sure. Your brew club got their permit to distribute without any questions asked, the turned a blind eye to the fact that it is illegal to sell "homebrew". The agency that controlled those permits decided "out of sight, out of mind" It happens often.

Its similar to being a member of a private club. For example the VFW (Vetrans of Foreign Wars) is a club that you pay dues to belong to yet they have bars in them that do not require a Liquor License because its a private club and "not open to the public". The still have to pay taxes though. Its still income.


I can throw a party, and charge people $10/head to cover the cost of food and drinks.

Having run Catering events and parties before in my line of work, you can do this under the table and/or depends on the party. Is it legal by the letter of the law? Not really. Any "public" food has to be prepared in a registered commercial kitchen inspected by the health department if you are charging for it. Does the heath inspector run around looking for parties to bust in the suburbs? Hells no! They got the Chinese restaurant on the other side of town to inspect for rat droppings that someone reported.

So it comes down to the old additive of CYA (Cover Your Ass). If its in a written legal document then it will be available for some lawyer type to come and take a bite out of your booty! Regardless of how you interpret it it still costs a lot to get an attorney of your own and go to court even in the end you win. I surely don't have that kind of spare cash or time for some court sideshow.

ZwolfUpir
08-16-2011, 03:46 PM
Perhaps just have a bunch of freelance Quality Control Inspectors who are unpaid interns and with our modern society work out of their homes through the digital office. I mean, if you were looking to start your own meadery, say 50 or so years or so down the line when you retire, you would want to do your research ahead of time. And these interns merely wish practice their craft to ensure that their skills are up to par and it just so happens you can help them out. I mean, they are unpaid interns, the least you could do is help them keep their skills up on their paying jobs.

M63Ural
08-16-2011, 06:01 PM
Right on point AToE, and I'll add do you want to run the risk of being the case that a federal inspector (read ATFE) and a federal prosecutor justify their existance and job with? Ok so you can mabe get by with it 99.9% of the time its still just plain illegal. Here in the USA getting run through the mill by the feds is not something you want. Even if you did get aquitted the cost would break you, and the federal boys play to win. I reccomend that everyone stay on the sunny side of any grey line envolving alcohol laws, the benifit to loss is just not worth it.

Jim

AToE
08-16-2011, 06:22 PM
Thanks.

I guess my point, to put it really simply, is that while we can all (all of us without law education) look at the laws and think we've found loopholes, it's more likely that we're wrong than right by a huge margin.

Laws have loopholes yes, but they were written by lawyers for lawyers. Even when they seem simple and comprehensible to us laypeople, tiny differences in words used, order of words, etc, can mean massive differences in how the law can be applied. And even if you do find a loophole, for every loophole they've probably got 50 laws we've never even heard of specifically meant to target people they feel are guilty of "something" but have gotten away with it due to a loophole - especially when we're talking about controlled drugs.

If my lawyer friends have taught me anything, it's that if I'm ever unsure about whether what I'm doing is legal or not, and I plan on putting it in writing or getting caught, I'd better consult with them first - because if I start applying my own logic to laws I'm likely to do more damage to myself than good!

So what we're doing here is nothing more than good mental exercise, unless any of us are secretly lawyers.

wildoates
08-16-2011, 06:23 PM
Well, you know the old joke, ATFE ought to be the name of a convenience store, not a gubmint agency. :)

MrMooCow
08-16-2011, 06:39 PM
So I heard back from the TTB. The answer is......

Maybe. The guy was very, very clear that the TTB might be ok with that, but it was also possible that ATF agents would kick my door in the middle of the night and shoot me for tax evasion.

It basically all comes down to what the definition of a family is. The guy told me an apartment complex isn't a family. Great, nice to know, but I didn't ask about an apartment complex. It's a very grey area, and he isn't really sure what the answer is.

He's pretty sure no one would ever try to enforce it though. But they might. Maybe.

Friendly, but pretty unhelpful.

So I sent him some clarifying questions, we'll see if he bothers to respond to those. Essentially asked him if I was engaging in alcohol resale when I buy a six pack for $20, then get $10 from my roommate when I get home for half the pack. Same with everyone in the house chipping in on a keg. If my roommates gave me ingredients, then I gave them back the full amount of alcohol, is that selling? If my roommates helped in the making, can they then chip in on the material costs?

I'm pretty sure I know his answers. Yes, not enforced. Yes, not enforced. Maybe, possibly enforced. Yes, but I can't tell you how much they have to help.

All in all, I think I just took another step closer being a bell tower shooter. Why bother having laws you can't enforce? Why make things illegal that don't harm people? Why tell me I can't do something without a permit, but refuse to sell me the permit?

I'd pay their damned tax, I don't care about that. It's $1-$3.30/gallon, with a $0.90 credit for less then 100,000. But I'm sure if I applied for the permit, they'd tell me I'm too small.

Crony Capitalism at it's finest.

AToE
08-16-2011, 06:46 PM
Just as an example here's parts of a law (or 2 seperate laws?) regarding making and selling booze from Massachusetts.

Section 2. No person shall manufacture, with intent to sell, sell or expose or keep for sale, store, transport, import or export alcoholic beverages or alcohol, except as authorized by this chapter; but the provisions of this chapter shall not apply to sales, storage or transportation by a person or public officer under a provision of law which requires him to sell personal property, or to sales, storage or transportation by executors, administrators, receivers and trustees duly authorized by proper judicial order or decree, except that any receiver or trustee in bankruptcy or otherwise appointed by any court, who is authorized by said court to conduct in whole or in part any business, authority to grant a license for which is given by this chapter, or who does conduct any such business in whole or in part, shall be subject to all provisions of the sections under which their licenses were issued and to all other provisions of this chapter applicable to such business the same as if it were conducted by an individual, partnership or corporation. No alcoholic beverage which has been damaged by fire or other casualty may be offered for sale in the commonwealth and any such beverage shall be destroyed by the owner on such terms and conditions as the commission shall determine. Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, beer or other malt beverage, which has been determined by the alcoholic beverages control commission, to have been damaged by fire or other casualty shall not be offered for sale in the commonwealth and shall be destroyed by the owner on such terms and conditions as said commission shall determine. Any holder of a license under this chapter may pledge or mortgage to secure a loan or debt any alcoholic beverages or alcohol which he is authorized to sell and the pledgee or mortgagee acting in conformity with the terms of such pledge or mortgage may sell, store and transport such alcoholic beverages or alcohol subject to such conditions and restrictions as the commission may prescribe; provided, that no such pledge or mortgage shall be given or made to a person holding any interest in a business licensed under this chapter. Violation of any provision of this section shall be punished except as provided in section twenty-two by a fine of not less than one hundred nor more than one thousand dollars or by imprisonment for not more than one year, or both.

Section 3. This chapter shall not apply to the manufacture or storage of alcoholic beverages by a person for his own private use or to sales of cider at wholesale by the original makers thereof, or to sales of cider by farmers, not to be drunk on the premises, in quantities not exceeding in the aggregate the product of apples raised by them in the season of, or next preceding, such sales, or to sales of cider in any quantity by such farmers not to be drunk on the premises if such cider does not contain more than three per cent of alcohol by weight at sixty degrees Fahrenheit; nor shall this chapter apply to sales of cider by the original makers thereof other than such makers and farmers selling not to be drunk on the premises as aforesaid, if the cider does not contain more than three per cent alcohol as aforesaid, not to be drunk on the premises as aforesaid.

I'm not saying these laws are the relevant ones, I'm saying look at this gibberish!! I couldn't even really tell which laws were the relevant ones on their list, and to try to read them all to figure it out would take a year, I think there was nearly (or maybe more than) 100 sections, some longer than these some shorter.


Laws are confusing business. EDIT: Just saw MMC's last post, I'm not surprised their own staff don't even know!

Why make things illegal that don't hurt anyone? Law isn't morality, it masquerades as morality, but in reality it takes wild departures from it all the time. In the words of my uncle (a cop): "there's a reason they call it the Legal System, not the Justice System". ;D

kudapucat
08-16-2011, 06:50 PM
<snip>

All in all, I think I just took another step closer being a bell tower shooter. Why bother having laws you can't enforce? Why make things illegal that don't harm people? Why tell me I can't do something without a permit, but refuse to sell me the permit?
<snip>

They're not enforceable because they just don't care. Because what you're doing shouldn't be illegal.
What you're doing is illegal because of a coupel of reasons.

Things that should be illegal, have laws with loopholes.
These laws that bother you are filling in the loopholes.
You simply don't matter enough to modify the laws for. You're too small. Laws only get changed for those with money or power. That's why poor powerless ppl need to arrange big protests to gain power.

So that's why they turn a blind eye. You start doing something bad though, which is hard to prosecute you for, they'll get you for this thing they were turning a blind eye to, just like they got Al Capone on Tax Evasion. (wild example, but I think it suits)
If you piss somebody off and they discover this, they could have a go just to teach you a lesson. "Turning a blind eye" is like blackmail. You have to be Squeeky clean in all else, or else!

MrMooCow
08-16-2011, 07:29 PM
And by they, you mean the higher level folks. The guy who answered me probably cares to an extent. Or at least he used to.

I do road construction inspection and project management. I have a giant book of specs that I typically only read when my boss is mad at the contractor. Otherwise, the contractor builds the road "ok". Not strictly to spec, but not bad enough that it's worth the cost of enforcing the spec. But, if you document that you didn't follow the spec, everyone gets really mad at you. They dislike my attitude that if you're going to break the law, be a big enough man to be honest about it. Enforce the law, don't enforce the law.... but don't lie and say you did when you didn't.

Of course, then they wonder why I don't really care about my job anymore either.

Ah burn out! I'm going through the ugly part of burn out now. I still care, but I don't really have the energy to fight with people anymore. A few more years, and I'll have just stopped caring all the way around. Can't wait! ;D

Riverat
08-16-2011, 08:12 PM
Alcohol
Tobaco
Fire arms

Whose bringing the chips?

M63Ural
08-16-2011, 09:32 PM
Alcohol
Tobacco
Fire Arms
Explosives

Since they added the E chips are uncessary, thats a party all by itself. Just needs to be beltfed, and API and old propane tanks just make it better.

Meriadoc
08-17-2011, 05:24 AM
Incidentally, your interpretation wouldn't hold water in Pennsylvania. The state defines "sale" as follows: "Sale—Any transfer for a consideration, exchange, barter, gift, offer for sale and distribution".

See http://www.pacode.com/secure/data/061/chapter74/s74.2.html

Yes, this is in the context of malt beverages, but as someone else has said upstream, if you think you've found a loophole, and you're not a lawyer, you're just asking for trouble.

kudapucat
08-17-2011, 06:07 AM
Incidentally, your interpretation wouldn't hold water in Pennsylvania. The state defines "sale" as follows: "Sale—Any transfer for a consideration, exchange, barter, gift, offer for sale and distribution".

See http://www.pacode.com/secure/data/061/chapter74/s74.2.html

Yes, this is in the context of malt beverages, but as someone else has said upstream, if you think you've found a loophole, and you're not a lawyer, you're just asking for trouble.

So you're not even allowed to give it away? That's reason to go postal!

Meriadoc
08-17-2011, 11:12 AM
So you're not even allowed to give it away? That's reason to go postal!

I don't think that's what it's saying. I'm not a lawyer, so I can't give legal advice, but the way I read it, they're saying "any transfer for a ... gift". In other words, they're not saying you can't give away your homebrew, but if you give it away in return for a gift, then it's a sale, legally speaking. This would cover the "freewill gifts accepted" situations.

Give it away all you want, but just don't take anything in return, is the way I read it.

Matrix4b
08-17-2011, 01:19 PM
Ah, the legal dance.

First, 2 options.

1. Be Legal: Put in in the contract of rental and run the risks of it being enforced or coming to the attention of the law.

2. Be Under the Table: Call it what you will but Barter, Services, Buy me materials and I will loan my services to the party. What ever. Basically, this type of interation is in person, not on the internet and not with someone you don't trust. So your neighbor, contractor, mechanic, or what ever are technically making the trade or gift for gift, what ever. But they understand that you are not selling and this is not something to brag about in any sense other than this guy's stuff is great. He's a great friend for letting me try it. Because he is great for this I fixed his car/bought supplies/cleaned his house, ect. But the point is they are NOT going to turn you in or brag that they "Bought Mead" with their services. If it is between consenting adults and it is not discussed to others in terms of distribution or comercial aspect. Is this legal, who cares.

Legal or not, The more noise you make with this the more chance of attracting the goverment. Basically, if you are small time (by small time, amounts UNDER what a distribitor or a small liquor store makes or even a medium sized, read as 50+person festival makes) then you may not even be looked at by the law. Unless ofcourse your "Customers" are bragging and the law gets wind of the bragging or if minors are involved. Mostly what govenments care about is how much $$ is lost and if they are getting a finger in their fact. Under the radar is the way to go. Also, Under the tolerable limit.

The moment you put stuff in writing or on the internet as being "Sold/Bartered Services" then the govenment can peak it's ugly head and take notice. Then hastle you.

Now they may also take notice if you are getting lots of new stuff and apear to be making a better living. You suddenly have a nicer car or other signs of large wealth with out apearing to change your job status or something may also tip them. But if it is to just get some of the minor things done then I see no problem with it.

Even on a State level (in the states myself) they deal with millions of dollars and don't care if a few hundred slip by each month. Unless you impinge on other laws such as drinking age or being blatant in a park or something then you should be fine. Just don't brag and make sure your customers don't mention buying, just drinking and enjoying. And to get some they only need to be your "Friend". It's sort of like disturbance of the peace situation. If you are out camping and don't have anyone around, who cares how much noise you make, just don't burn down the forest. But a noisy party in a condo of a retirement comunity will get shut down fast. It's all realitive.

That's my $. Inflation's a bitch.

Matrix

MrMooCow
08-17-2011, 01:47 PM
The guy from TTB wrote back again. Refused to answer any of my clarification questions, and basically told me to have the roommates pay a disproportional share of the other utilities.

How f-ed up is that?

*wanders off to find a good bell tower*

Sent from my DROID2 GLOBAL using Tapatalk

AToE
08-17-2011, 02:22 PM
Nice, someone involved in (theoretically) enforcing the law tells you to break it!

Sometimes the system needs to be just a wee bit corrupt to function properly! I think what he was probably trying to say was "stop putting this into writing, just "somehow" obtain a little extra cash and share your booze, also stop bothering me!". :p

MrMooCow
08-17-2011, 02:29 PM
Oh yes. He was like, "look, I don't know what to tell you. You can not receive money for booze. If you do, we'll shoot you. If you receive money for chips, or milk or toilet paper it ain't our concern."

Paraphrased. ;)

Sent from my DROID2 GLOBAL using Tapatalk

kudapucat
08-17-2011, 05:41 PM
<snip>

paraphrased. ;)

<snip>

rofl! .

SpamDog
08-17-2011, 08:39 PM
As far as the roommate thing. The law says that I can make 100 more gallons then I otherwise would because of my wife, It does not say that I have to support/pay for her drinking. Was it legal for me to take the wine kit she bought and make it for her? Maybe it was okay because we are married, but we do keep separate bank accounts so it was clearly HER money. I wonder how the law looks upon "Donations toward the next batch" bins sitting on the bar? And of course there could be a "Recommended Donation of $X per bottle" Is there a difference (legally speaking) between buying home brew from someone, and giving them a few bux to help subsidize their next batch? We have those "Brew on Premise" places here, I wonder what permits they need? I don't know, I'm not a lawyer, and I have had some mead already tonight. YMMV.

Spamdog

Loadnabox
08-19-2011, 02:07 PM
... if you think you've found a loophole, and you're not a lawyer, you're just asking for trouble.

I once went into traffic court to contest a ticket. I had relevant laws in hand, case law laid out for my argument and knew the right questions to ask the cops.

The judge eventually got pissed at me, yelled at me for thinking I was smart enough to pretend to be a lawyer and threw the book at me revoking my license (which was later taken off my record when his verdict was thrown out)

Lesson learned: Judges HATE HATE -HATE-!!! people who actually put up a real defense and make sure to punish anyone who tries to act lawyerly when they don't have the piece of paper.

The quote, is SAGE advice.

MrMooCow
08-19-2011, 03:51 PM
Some Judges. One of my civil engineering professors in college got a red light ticket at a near by intersection. He was of the opinion that intersection was programmed wrong, so as a class project we went out and analyzed the intersection. Not only was the timing off on the lights (yellow was too short), but we found a whole host of other issues where the intersection did not comply with MUTCD (Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices), the standard used in the USA.

The prof goes into court, with powerpoint presentation in hand. He pleads not guilty, states a very brief explanation as to why. The judge turns to the prosecutor, and the prosecutor gets uppity. My prof proceeds to evicerate him on the technical points of both the law and intersection design. The judge could barely keep from laughing her butt off. She finally calls a halt to the whole circus, advises the cop not to give tickets to civil engineering professors, and moves on with the next case.

- Brett

AToE
08-19-2011, 04:08 PM
I was going to say, I wouldn't judge all judges (HA!) by an experience with just one (look at the fact that the judge in question's ruling was overturned according to your story - so there was a better judge involved in that one for sure). I've heard of plenty of stories of just the opposite, where the judge was perfectly happy to see someone defending themselves.

Like anyone else they're just people, but also like other groups, the bad ones stick out and are the ones you remember. Same with cops, I know lots of people who dislike cops as a whole, but the reality is that most of them seriously just want to make their turf a better place and are out to help people - but ones that are bad, oh boy are they bad.

JayH
08-19-2011, 04:41 PM
My favorite.

Years ago my when my grandmother turned 90 I gave her a cane as a joke, she kept on complaining that at her age people should give her more respect, and I told her if she acted helpless it would help.

About a year of that she was actually using the cane when a 24 year old male stole her purse. She chased him down in the crowd and broke his arm with the cane.

Well in Texas it is (or at least then) was illegal to use violent force on a fleeing non violent criminal.

I’m sure his defense attorney had connections and managed to get my grandmother charged with assault and battery. The day of the court case my brother and I flew out there to support here and we were worried, after all this is our 90 year grandmother.

The judge at first started chewing out the kid for assaulting my grandmother, when the stopped him and explained what had happened. He slammed his gavel down, said ‘Not in my court’ proceeded to chew out the district attorney and then looked at my grandmother and said “Next time use it on his head”

End of case.

Judges are just people, some great, some disgustingly lousy and the majority just doing the best they can at a hard job.


Cheers
Jay