ABC Tennessee Alcohol Responsibility Act for Server Permit
TENNESSEE ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGE COMMISSION IMPORTANT RULES AND REGULATIONS
TENNESSEE ALCOHOL RESPONSIBILITY ACT OF 1995 AND THE SERVER PERMIT PROCESS
The Alcohol Server Responsibility Act of 1995 requires anyone serving liquor by the drink to successfully complete an
alcohol awareness class certified by the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission.
The primary legislative purpose of the Alcohol Server and Responsibility Act of 1995 is to prevent intoxication-related
deaths, injuries, and other damages through responsible serving practices and awareness.
TABC Rules & Regulations – CLASSES
• Classes must be a minimum of 3.5 hours instructional classroom time. Instructional time does not include breaks or exam.
• Students must complete the exam with a score of at least 80%
• Instructors are required to pay to the TABC, per student, a $15.00 certification fee for the TABC to process the
class. This is included in your class fee.
• Anyone not passing is allowed to retake the course (exam) at no charge within 30 days from the same instructor.
TABC Rules & Regulations – PERMITS
A server is not eligible for a permit if they:
• Have been convicted of a felony in the previous 4 years.**
• In the previous (8) years, been convicted of:
• Any crime relating to the sale, distribution, or dispensing of alcoholic beverages, schedule 1 or 2
controlled substances, or controlled substance analogues, embezzlement, or any sex related crime.**
• Had ownership or interest in an establishment in which the license was revoked.
• Had a felony offense involving theft, dishonesty, deceit, or intoxication
• Are on judicial diversion for any of the above. If a permit is lost the TABC will no longer issue a replacement
copy or new permit to anyone on judicial diversion until such diversion is completed and court disposition
papers can be provided with the application.
• Have had any permit issued in other jurisdictions revoked in the previous (5) years.• Are not at least 18 years old.
• Do not have a valid social security number or work permit number belonging to themselves.
** During the time your permit is valid, if you are convicted of one of these offenses your 5-Year TABC Server Permit
is subject to revocation!
If you have any question whether you are eligible for a permit, let your instructor know now and they will give you a
refund for the class and you can be excused.
Steps to apply for a TABC 5-Year Server Permit
Students MUST HAVE their RLPS# to take a class. Completing the application process does not necessarily mean
additional information will not be requested. Also, the TABC will conduct random background checks on
If the TABC determines additional items are needed to complete your server application for a TABC 5-Year Server
You are responsible for complying with all TABC requests and paperwork within 30 days
of the date on your class certificate. If it is not completed within 30 days you be required to start and pay for the
entire process with the TABC again.
Depending on the application process, you can log into your RLPS account to print your server permit usually within
1-4 business days after class.
If there is a problem with your paperwork, the TABC will contact you by email. Please follow up with the TABC
61-Day Grace Period
Servers that have never worked in the alcohol service industry in TN or had a TABC-5 Year Server Permit have, by
law, a 61-day grace period to obtain their TABC 5-Year Server Permit. Company policy can dictate differently. This
grace period is from DATE OF HIRE. If someone has been promoted to server from another position they normally
won’t have a grace period.
There is NO GRACE period when permits expire.
On-premise consumption licensees should maintain and have available for review on the premises at all times:
1. A copy of all employee TABC 5-Year Server permit
2. A list of all current employees serving alcohol that documents hire or position transfer dates. The TABC may also
ask for W-4 or employment applications for proof an employee is legitimately allowed a 61-day grace period. If an
employee transfers from another position or state the agent will require proof of that transfer date. If the licensee
does not have acceptable documentation of the date of hire or department/state transfer for the employee, then it
will be deemed that the employee has worked in a serving position at the licensed premises greater than sixty-one
The 5-year permit issued by the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission is the only permit allowing anyone to
serve alcohol in Tennessee. Certificates of successful completion of a class will not suffice.