March 11, 2005 - Columbus, Ohio
- Cigarette Enforcement Sweep Finds
- Tax Enforcement Agents
find only 3 minor infractions
COLUMBUS, Mar. 11 – Recent inspections by Ohio Department of
Taxation (ODT) Enforcement agents of 75 cigarette and other
tobacco products retail outlets in the Cincinnati area found
that retailers are generally following Ohio law by only
offering cigarettes for sale that display the proper Ohio
cigarette tax stamp.
“That’s good news,” said Ohio Tax Commissioner William W.
Wilkins. “The inspections clearly show that the vast majority
of merchants in Cincinnati are following the tax law on
cigarette sales.” Agents found only three minor license
Wilkins said the inspections in the Cincinnati-area are part
of an on-going effort across Ohio to make sure all vendors
are selling cigarettes displaying the correct tax stamps. The
Ohio tax on a pack of cigarettes is 55 cents. Money from the
tax goes into Ohio’s general fund, the fund that pays for
most state government services. Merchants must also charge
sales tax on cigarette sales.
ODT’s Enforcement Division conducts about 100 inspections of
retail outlets throughout Ohio each month, and they assist
the Ohio Attorney General’s Office in enforcing the Master
Settlement Agreement (MSA) to ensure cigarettes sold in Ohio
are allowed to be sold in the state under the MSA.
Wilkins said these retail outlet inspections are just one
step ODT takes to enforce Ohio’s cigarette and other tobacco
products tax laws. Another major initiative is to assess the
cigarette tax on consumers who purchase cigarettes off the
Internet, or from other outlets outside Ohio, on which
cigarette taxes are not collected or remitted to Ohio by the
“I want to remind people in Ohio that if they buy cigarettes
on which tax has not been collected, then they are
responsible for paying the tax,” Wilkins said.
ODT last week began mailing nearly 1,200 individual letters
that assessed a total of $93,018 in taxes on such cigarette
purchases. The highest individual tax bill is $803.
“We know who these people are because of a federal law that
requires companies, such as Internet firms, to provide the
names, addresses and number of cigarettes purchased by
persons in Ohio,” Wilkins said.
“We will collect the tax,” the Tax Commissioner emphasized.
“So, if you buy cigarettes from a merchant out of Ohio that’s
not collecting and remitting Ohio cigarette taxes, don’t be
surprised when you get a bill from this department.”
(For more information, contact Gary Gudmundson, ODT
Communications Director, at 614-644-6903.)