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As a follow-up to last month’s column, here are two (2) more changes made to the Liquor Code, which licensees need to know:

1. NSF Checks for Beer

The new law which Governor Corbett signed on December 22, 2011, which is titled Act 113 of 2011, set up a new procedure regarding the issuance of worthless checks that licensees issue in payment for malt or brewed beverages to any other licensee.

A beer distributor who receives an NSF or worthless check from a licensee in payment for the beer now must notify both the licensee who issued the check and the PLCB Malt Beverage Compliance Officer within 5 days of the distributor receiving the notice of the check being dishonored by the bank. Thereafter, the PLCB’s Malt Beverage Compliance Officer must send the licensee, who issued the worthless check, written notice that the licensee has 10 days to replace the check or honor the worthless check that it issued. Should the licensee not so honor the check within the 10 days of the mailing date of the notice, the Malt Beverage Compliance Officer will notify the Pennsylvania State Police, Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement, for investigation and the probability of the issuance of a citation to the licensee for writing worthless checks in payment for purchases of malt or brewed beverages when there were insufficient funds in or credit with the licensee’s bank.

This new provision gives licensees an opportunity to correct any bookkeeping or clerical mistakes in issuing NSF checks for beer purchases before the Pennsylvania State Police, Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement, becomes involved in a citation process.

Please note that this provision would apply to all licensees who issue worthless checks to another licensee. Therefore, this would include a distributor licensee who issues a worthless check to an importing distributor licensee.

This provision is effective as of February 20, 2012.

2. Licensee’s Business Records

Another change to the Liquor Code pertains to the requirement of the length of time that a licensee is to maintain its business records on the licensed premises. Effective February 20, 2012, a licensee must maintain its business records on its licensed premises for a period of only the most recent six (6) months. Examples of business records are State Liquor Store invoices and invoices for purchases of malt or brewed beverages. Previously, licensees had to maintain business records for two (2) full years on the licensed premises. The records may be removed from the licensed premises only for a “lawful business purpose” and then promptly returned to the licensed premises. An example of a lawful business purpose would be the delivery of business records to the licensee’s accountant for tax purposes.

A licensee may now store its business records that are between six (6) months and two (2) years old at a location other than the licensed premises. Those records, however, must be able to be returned to the licensed premises within 24 hours should the Pennsylvania State Police, Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement, demand to see those records.

Previously, licensees were required to maintain the business records on the licensed premises for the entire period of two (2) years instead of six (6) months.