Treasury bureau automating tax and trade permits, regulation

Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau moves from paper-based system with Accela Automation software

The Treasury Department’s Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) is automating the validation and authorization processes for businesses in those regulated industries with software from Accela.

TTB has selected Federal ePermits, a joint venture between TechGlobal and Peak Technology Solutions, to deploy Accela Automation software, moving the bureau from a heavily paper-based system to improve permitting and regulation of businesses.

TTB will deploy Accela Automation as a Permits Online solution to support increasing application volumes, reduce costs, and improve service, TTB officials said. TTB’s Cincinnati-based National Revenue Center (NRC) will be a primary recipient of the technology.

TTB will use the Accela Land Management module of Accela Automation to automate the hundreds of steps involved in approving complex permits, from application to authorization.

Accela Automation will supply the back-end functionality that will let TTB staff seamlessly access application information from a single database and share status information across teams. Additionally, the Bureau will deploy Accela Citizen Access software to provide industry members with 24/7 submission and tracking capability throughout the process. When completed, the new system will provide:

  • Secure electronic submission capability for applications.
  • Workflow functionality to facilitate online routing, review and correction of submitted information.
  • Online help to guide industry users through the submission processes.
  • Reporting and tracking capability for both TTB staff and customers to keep tabs on application status.

TTB employs nearly 600 people and is responsible for enforcing and administering laws covering the production, use, and distribution of alcohol and tobacco products. TTB also collects excise taxes for firearms and ammunition. All alcohol- and tobacco-related businesses operating above the retail level must submit an application and multiple supporting documents to TTB – and all of these flow to the 56 staff members of the NRC.

The NRC currently processes 23 different original or amended applications that are used to authorize 19 different kinds of permits and registrations. In fiscal 2008, NRC staff screened approximately 5,600 paper-based original application packets and nearly 20,000 amendments to existing applications. With application rates expected to continue their 17 percent average annual growth rate for the foreseeable future, TTB has made automation and efficiency top priorities, officials said.

“We are a small agency that prides itself on efficiency and uses every opportunity it can to maximize the resources we have so that we can use our resources for enforcement purposes,” said Mary Ryan, assistant administrator field operations with TTB.

“Although application packets can be downloaded and printed from our Web site, the applicants need to complete and mail the packets for manual processing – at great cost in time and resources,” Ryan said. Switching to a secure electronic submission process will save both applicants and TTB significant time and money as well as ensure industry compliance with federal regulations, Ryan added.

About the Author

Rutrell Yasin is is a freelance technology writer for GCN.

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