[Federal Register Volume 83, Number 9 (Friday, January 12, 2018)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 1552-1553]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2018-00417]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY

Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau

27 CFR Part 16

[Docket No. TTB-2018-0002; Notice No. 171]


Civil Monetary Penalty Inflation Adjustment--Alcoholic Beverage 
Labeling Act

AGENCY: Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, Treasury.

ACTION: Notification of civil monetary penalty adjustment.

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SUMMARY: This document informs the public that the maximum penalty for 
violations of the Alcoholic Beverage Labeling Act (ABLA) is being 
adjusted in accordance with the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation 
Adjustment Act of 1990, as amended. Prior to the publication of this 
document, any person who violated the provisions of the ABLA was 
subject to a civil penalty of not more than $20,111, with each day 
constituting a separate offense. This document announces that this 
maximum penalty is being increased to $20,521.

DATES: The new maximum civil penalty for violations of the ABLA takes 
effect on January 12, 2018 and applies to penalties that are assessed 
after that date.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Rita D. Butler, Regulations and 
Rulings Division, Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, 1310 G 
Street NW, Box 12, Washington, DC 20005; (202) 453-1039, ext. 101.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

Statutory Authority for Federal Civil Monetary Penalty Inflation 
Adjustments

    The Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act of 1990 (the 
Inflation Adjustment Act), Public Law 101-410, 104 Stat. 890, 28 U.S.C. 
2461 note, as amended by the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation 
Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015, Public Law 114-74, section 
701, 129 Stat. 584, requires the regular adjustment and evaluation of 
civil monetary penalties to maintain their deterrent effect and helps 
to ensure that penalty amounts imposed by the Federal Government are 
properly accounted for and collected. A ``civil monetary penalty'' is 
defined in the Inflation Adjustment Act as any penalty, fine, or other 
such sanction that is: (1) For a specific monetary amount as provided 
by Federal law, or has a

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maximum amount provided for by Federal law; (2) assessed or enforced by 
an agency pursuant to Federal law; and (3) assessed or enforced 
pursuant to an administrative proceeding or a civil action in the 
Federal courts.
    The Inflation Adjustment Act, as amended, requires agencies to 
adjust civil monetary penalties by the inflation adjustment described 
in section 5 of the Inflation Adjustment Act no later than January 15 
of every year thereafter. The Act also provides that any increase in a 
civil monetary penalty shall apply only to civil monetary penalties, 
including those whose associated violation predated such an increase, 
which are assessed after the date the increase takes effect.
    The Inflation Adjustment Act, as amended, provides that the 
inflation adjustment does not apply to civil monetary penalties under 
the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 or the Tariff Act of 1930.

Alcoholic Beverage Labeling Act

    The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) administers the 
Federal Alcohol Administration Act (FAA Act) pursuant to section 
1111(d) of the Homeland Security Act of 2002, codified at 6 U.S.C. 
531(d). The Secretary has delegated various authorities through 
Treasury Department Order 120-01, dated December 10, 2013, (superseding 
Treasury Department Order 120-01, dated January 24, 2003), to the TTB 
Administrator to perform the functions and duties in the administration 
and enforcement of this law.
    The FAA Act contains the Alcoholic Beverage Labeling Act (ABLA) of 
1988, Public Law 100-690, 27 U.S.C. 213-219a, which was enacted on 
November 18, 1988. Section 204 of the ABLA, codified in 27 U.S.C. 215, 
requires that a health warning statement appear on the labels of all 
containers of alcoholic beverages manufactured, imported, or bottled 
for sale or distribution in the United States, as well as on containers 
of alcoholic beverages that are manufactured, imported, bottled, or 
labeled for sale, distribution, or shipment to members or units of the 
U.S. Armed Forces, including those located outside the United States.
    The health warning statement requirement applies to containers of 
alcoholic beverages manufactured, imported, or bottled for sale or 
distribution in the United States on or after November 18, 1989. The 
statement reads as follows:

    GOVERNMENT WARNING: (1) According to the Surgeon General, women 
should not drink alcoholic beverages during pregnancy because of the 
risk of birth defects. (2) Consumption of alcoholic beverages 
impairs your ability to drive a car or operate machinery, and may 
cause health problems.

    Section 204 of the ABLA also specifies that the Secretary of the 
Treasury shall have the power to ensure the enforcement of the 
provisions of the ABLA and issue regulations to carry out them out. In 
addition, section 207 of the ABLA, codified in 27 U.S.C. 218, provides 
that any person who violates the provisions of the ABLA is subject to a 
civil penalty of not more than $10,000, with each day constituting a 
separate offense.
    Most of the civil monetary penalties administered by TTB are 
imposed by the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, and thus are not subject 
to the inflation adjustment mandated by the Inflation Adjustment Act. 
The only civil monetary penalty enforced by TTB that is subject to the 
inflation adjustment is the penalty imposed by the ABLA at 27 U.S.C. 
218.

TTB Regulations

    The TTB regulations implementing the ABLA are found in 27 CFR part 
16, and the regulations implementing the Inflation Adjustment Act with 
respect to the ABLA penalty are found in 27 CFR 16.33. This section 
indicates that the ABLA provides that any person who violates the 
provisions of this part shall be subject to a civil penalty of not more 
than $10,000, but also states that, pursuant to the provisions of the 
Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act of 1990, as amended, 
this civil penalty is subject to periodic cost-of-living adjustment. 
Accordingly, any person who violates the provisions of 27 CFR part 16 
shall be subject to a civil penalty of not more than the amount listed 
at https://www.ttb.gov/regulation_guidance/ablapenalty.html. Each day 
shall constitute a separate offense.
    To adjust the penalty, Sec.  16.33(b) indicates that TTB will 
provide notice in the Federal Register and at the website mentioned 
above of cost-of-living adjustments to the civil penalty for violations 
of 27 CFR part 16.

Penalty Adjustment

    In this document, TTB is publishing its yearly adjustment to the 
maximum ABLA penalty, as required by the amended Inflation Adjustment 
Act.
    As mentioned earlier, the ABLA contains a maximum civil monetary 
penalty. For such penalties, Section 5 of the Inflation Adjustment Act 
indicates that the inflation adjustment shall be determined by 
increasing the maximum penalty by the cost-of-living adjustment. The 
cost-of-living adjustment means the percentage (if any) by which the 
Consumer Price Index for all-urban consumers (CPI-U) for the month of 
October preceding the date of the adjustment exceeds the CPI-U for the 
month of October 1 year before the month of October preceding the date 
of the adjustment.
    The CPI-U in October 2016 was 241.729, and the CPI-U in October 
2017 was 246.663. The rate of inflation between October 2016 and 
October 2017 is therefore 2.041 percent. When applied to the current 
ABLA penalty of $20,111, this rate of inflation yields a raw 
(unrounded) inflation adjustment of $410.46551. Rounded to the nearest 
dollar, the inflation adjustment is $410, meaning that the new maximum 
civil penalty for violations of the ABLA will be $20,521.
    The new maximum civil penalty will apply to all penalties that are 
assessed after January 12, 2018. TTB will also update its web page at 
https://www.ttb.gov/regulation_guidance/ablapenalty.html to reflect the 
adjusted penalty.

    Dated: January 8, 2018.
Amy R. Greenberg,
Director, Regulations and Rulings Division.
[FR Doc. 2018-00417 Filed 1-11-18; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4810-31-P