Over the weekend, a business broker asked me (verbatim) “What the hell is going on with these fees?” As some of you may have heard, there has been some back and forth regarding the “state of the fees” payable to the Michigan Liquor Control Commission. We have not addressed the issue for several months, so this seemed like a proper time for an update. Here is what we currently know:
For now, continue paying all fees up front unless you hear otherwise from us or MLCC. This was originally discussed in an earlier post. If you are applying for a Class C license (or transfer), this will require that you send a check for $600, plus $70 for investigation, plus $100 for an SDM (if applicable), plus Sunday Sales permit fees (if applicable). Of course, if you are applying for a Resort License (e.g. a Resort SDD), the only fee required up front is the $70 investigation/inspection fee.
Regarding Transfer Fees:
We believe that the Commission is aware that MCL 436.1529 runs contrary to their current policy; however, we have not yet heard anything more than “we are looking into when transfer fees must be paid” and “we have not made any changes yet.” The Commission’s current requirement (fees up front) is based upon MCL 436.1525, which dictates “License Fees.” MCL 436.1529, however, is the section which details fees for the transfer of a license. With regard to transferring a license, MCL 436.1529(3) states that “upon approval by the commission… there shall be paid to the commission a transfer fee equal to the fee provided in this act for the class of license being transferred.” This section quite obviously states that transfer fees are not due until after the transfer is approved by the commission. However, until the commission confirms that it understands and accepts the statutory requirements, applicants for a transfer license must continue to pay all fees up front.
Refunding of Fees:
MLCC’s last position on the refunding of fees (made known to us) is as follows: If the applicant cancels the request prior to a Commission decision, all fees except the $70 investigation fee will be refunded. If the Commission makes a decision on the request (denial or approval), there will be no refund of any fees.
If you have heard or experienced anything differently, please feel free to let us know. We have received conflicting reports at times (even from inside of MLCC) and it is not always easy to keep tabs on the “official position” of the Commission.