Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Non-Profit Series: 10. Applying for a Liquor License as a Non-Profit

Written by Sagan L. Carman-Downer

It is common for non-profit organizations to host events or fundraisers where they wish to serve alcohol. State laws will dictate what the organization needs to do to be able to serve alcohol at these events. This article will focus on the requirements in Nebraska for certain non-profit organizations to apply for a liquor license.

In Nebraska, an organization that is planning to have alcohol available at an event is required to get a liquor license, with only a few very limited exceptions. In the vast majority of situations, if there will be alcohol available for consumption or sale at the event, a license is required. Obtaining a traditional liquor license can be a very involved and costly process. Nebraska, though, provides a less intensive process for certain non-profits that are seeking a liquor license for only one or a few events throughout the year.

Non-profits that qualify, can apply for a Special Designated License (SDL), instead of a more traditional liquor license. Normally, a liquor license allows an organization to serve alcohol on an ongoing basis. The SDL, though, approves liquor service for only a single event.  In order to qualify for this less intensive application, the non-profit organization must be 1) formed as a corporation under state law, and 2) exempted from paying federal income tax (this is commonly achieved by receiving 501(c)(3) status as explained in installment 6 in this series).

If the non-profit meets these two requirements, they are able to apply for the SDL. The application is submitted to the Nebraska Liquor Control Commission to determine whether it will be approved. In order for the application to be approved, the non-profit must show that they are taking certain precautions to ensure that alcohol is being served only to people aged 21 or older, and being served in a safe and responsible manner.

For more detailed information on what specific precautions are required, and to access copies of the forms required to be submitted for the SDL application, this website is a great resource, https://lcc.nebraska.gov/special-designated-license-applications.

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