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Failure to Maintain Books of Accounting

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NJ ABC Liquor Law Attorneys

What Records Must Be Maintained by a Liquor Store or Bar?

Holding an liquor license in New Jersey allows you to conduct business involving the sale of alcoholic beverage products. However, the Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control requires that you maintain certain business records in the English language which accurately reflect the business conducted. The records must be provided for review if demanded by an ABC Investigator, Detective or Deputy Attorney General. These records are commonly referred to as “books of account.”

Failure to Maintain Books of Account Charges

The following list compiles what records must be maintained and for how long:

  1. The licensee shall have and keep, for an unlimited period of time, permanent records which shall truly and accurately contain a record of all moneys invested in the licensed business, including loans, the source of all such investments and the disposition of such investments.
  2. The licensee shall maintain for a period of five years, a record of all money, or any other thing of value, received in the ordinary course of business or received outside the ordinary course of business, including, but not limited to, sales of alcoholic beverage products, food sales, rebates (including RIPs) and miscellaneous income.
  3. The licensee shall maintain for a period of five years, records which show the payment of all expenses. The records shall indicate the name of the person or entity receiving such payment, the amount of the payment and the reason that the payment was made.

What Payment Records are Required to Maintained at a Liquor License?

  • The purchase of alcoholic beverages;
  • The purchase of food items;
  • The purchase of supplies and use of utilities;
  • The purchase or lease of equipment;
  • The payment of all employees’ compensation, including all required withholding taxes;
  • The payment of all local, state and federal taxes and license fees;
  • The payment of rents, mortgages, loans and/or a reduction of an owner’s equity and
  • All other disbursements.

Penalties for Failure to Maintain Books of Account Violation

Under N.J.A.C. 13:2-19.11, a charge for Failure to Maintain Books of Account (BOOKS1 or BOOKS2) carries a suspension of your liquor license. The length of this suspension varies depending upon the number of prior violations, whether you produced the books within seven (7) days and any other mitigating or aggravating factors deemed appropriate. Please see the below corresponding penalty schedule:

  • Failure to Maintain Books of Account (BOOKS1)
    • “Failure to keep or maintain books of account which were true, complete and accurate in all respects on your licensed premises or failed to produce same for inspection upon demand in violation of N.J.A.C. 13:2-23.32.”
    • First Offense2-day license suspension
    • Second Offense10-day license suspension
    • Third Offense20-day license suspension
  • Failure to Maintain Books of Account (BOOKS2)
    • “Failure to keep or maintain books of account which were true, complete and accurate in all respects on your licensed premises or failed to produce same within seven (7) days thereof, in violation of N.J.A.C. 13:2-23.32.”
    • First Offense30-day license suspension
    • Second Offense60-day license suspension
    • Third OffenseRevocation

Notice of Charges from NJ Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control

For legal representation in your ABC liquor law matter, call 732.858.5857. Our firm specializes in liquor law and we offer our clients the industry knowledge obtained while working as a Deputy Attorney General for the Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control. Call today for your free consultation and learn how we can work to avoid and suspension of your liquor license.

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