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Special Occasion Licensing information

1. To be eligible for a Special Occasion License, an organization must be either:

a. a "bona fide charitable or non-profit organization" which is defined as:

1) a corporation which has been recognized as exempt from federal taxes under Section 501(c) of the Internal Revenue Code (the applicant must provide documentation of such status, which may consist of a notice from the IRS); or

2) any organization which has existed for at least two consecutive years which expends at least 60% of its gross revenue exclusively for religious, educational or charitable purposes. (The applicant must provide proof, which may consist of minutes, newsletters, charter, etc., and financial records or tax returns.)

b. a "bona fide political organization" which is defined as:

1) a political campaign committee as defined in T.C.A. 2-10-102(a); or

2) a political party as defined in T.C.A. 2-13-101

2. The license allows the sale or serving of alcoholic beverages in those political subdivisions which have authorized liquor stores. The applicant must specifically designate the premises covered by the license. They must also provide proof that they have permission to use the premises and to sell or serve alcoholic beverages.

3. The license is good for no more than a 24-hour period, but licensee is subject to the regular limitations on hours that alcohol may be served (not after 3 a.m. or before 8 a.m. on weekdays or 10:00 a.m. on Sunday, local government permitting.) If an applicant wants to have a three day event, for example, applicant must get three licenses. An organization may not be issued more than twelve licenses in one calendar year.

4. If a licensee buys its liquor, it must be purchased from a liquor store, not a wholesaler. The licensee is not required to pay LBD taxes or post a bond.

5. As a general rule, the licensee must comply with all other statutes and rules governing LBD licensees, such as selling to minors. However, individuals serving the alcoholic beverages are not required to obtain a server permit.

6. If an organization plans to sell liquor (at a cash bar or through tickets sold in advance which entitle the buyer to alcoholic beverages) it must either hold the event at a licensed establishment (which actually does the serving and/or selling) or get a special occasion license.

7. If an organization wishes to dispense liquor free of charge, it must either:

a) be a bona fide convention or meeting, in a licensed establishment, must bring its own alcoholic beverages onto the licensed premises and serve the beverages to delegates or guests without cost or

b) hold the event in a private home or in a private place which is not of a commercial nature, nor where goods or services may be bought or sold nor any charge or rent or other thing of value is exchanged for use of the premises. (An otherwise public place may be private if closed to the public for a particular event.)

c) obtain a special occasion license.

8. Private events for invited guests only, where liquor is served free of charge, and there is no fee charged, (directly or indirectly), to attend the event, do NOT require a Special Occasion license.

9. The application AB-0038 for a Special Occasion license shall be notarized, and delivered or mailed into the Nashville office, with all supporting paperwork and payment. For fees, see fee.

10. Application must be submitted at least two (2) weeks prior to the date of the event. Failure to comply with this requirement may cause denial of the application. Applications submitted less than two (2) weeks prior to the event are subject to a late fee. No customer or patron is allowed to transport alcoholic beverages away from the designated area of the event. The permit consist of a letter of permission from the TABC to the licensee.

If you have any questions concerning Special Occasion Licenses or the application form, please contact our Nashville office for information at (615) 741-1602, extension 106, or by e-mail.


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