Feb. 17, 2010 – Tobacco Hotline is New Way to Catch
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Citizens who suspect
retailers of selling untaxed tobacco products can help
the state snuff out illegal activity by calling a new
toll-free hotline: (877) SMOKE-80.
The Ohio Department of Taxation launched the new
hotline in an effort to generate tips on the sale of
untaxed tobacco products, an illegal practice that
hurts law-abiding business owners.
“When merchants sell untaxed cigarettes, they are
breaking the law and taking money out of the pockets of
legitimate business owners who play by the rules,” said
Bob Bray, the Ohio Department of Taxation’s chief
Packs of cigarettes that are sold legitimately bear a
tax stamp from the state as proof. Retailers who sell
untaxed products face misdemeanor or felony charges,
based on the quantities they hold. They also owe taxes
and penalties on the products held without tax stamps,
and these products are confiscated as evidence.
Retailer compliance with Ohio’s tobacco laws is
monitored through periodic inspections conducted
statewide by agents of the Ohio Department of
Taxation’s Enforcement Division and by agents from the
Excise and Motor Fuel Tax Division, in cooperation with
local law enforcement authorities.
The Department of Taxation has stepped up its
enforcement of untaxed tobacco products. Department
investigations led to the seizures 180,795 untaxed
tobacco products during fiscal year 2009, more than
seven times the quantity seized the previous year.
The new hotline can also be reached by calling (877)
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News media with further questions should contact Mike
McKinney at (614) 466-5461.