Information Release

XT 2003-13 Excise And Motor Fuel Tax Division Information Release – Cigarette Master Settlement Agreement Changes – Cigarette Retailers - August 8, 2003

The 125th General Assembly recently passed Amended Substitute House Bill 95 that changes several of the requirements surrounding the Cigarette Master Settlement Agreement (MSA). These changes will affect tobacco manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers.

Currently, cigarette and roll-your-own tobacco manufacturers must be either a signatory to the MSA or make payments to a qualified escrow account. This legislation provides for a Web site where all brands, that have met one of the above two requirements, will be listed. The Attorney General will establish and maintain the Web site. The Web site will be operational after August 11, 2003, and can be checked by going to www.ag.state.oh.us and under Current Features click on Tobacco Directory. The Web site is public information and there are no passwords or other restrictions. The Web site can be accessed from any computer connected to the Internet. This includes computers at your residence or local library

Ten days following the initial listing of the brands to the Web site, it will be illegal to sell or offer to sell in Ohio any brand of cigarette or roll-your-own tobacco that is not included on this list. Brands not on the list may be in your possession waiting to be returned to your supplier, but may not be in your possession for sale or distribution in Ohio. The Department of Taxation may confiscate any cigarettes or roll-your-own tobacco found to be in violation of the statute and may revoke the license of any retail dealer that distributes or sells such products in Ohio. Wholesale and retail dealers may also be charged with a first-degree misdemeanor for the first offense and a fourth-degree felony for subsequent offenses. Section 1346.09 (B) of the Ohio Revised Code entitles the state to recover the costs of the investigation, expert witness fees, court costs and reasonable attorney‘s fees associated with any action to enforce Sections 1346.05 through 1346.10 of the Ohio Revised Code.

Ohio stamped cigarettes and tax paid other tobacco products that may not be sold in Ohio should be returned to your supplier. If this cannot be done, you may apply for a refund of the tax provided that the product is destroyed. Do not destroy the product before contacting the Excise and Motor Fuel Tax Division.

Products will be listed by brand families. For example, XYZ Light and XYZ Menthol will be listed as XYZ. Once a product is placed on the list it may be sold until a date is placed in the removal field. Product may not be sold on or after that date. You should periodically check this site for changes to the list.

The Attorney General will notify the Department of Taxation of any pending additions or removals to the list. The Department of Taxation will in turn notify cigarette retailers at least ten days prior to the effective date of the pending additions or removals. To give you the maximum time to either sell the product or return it to your supplier before the removal date, the Department of Taxation will notify you by e-mail. In order for you to receive this notification, please complete the enclosed form with the e-mail addresses that you would like to receive this notification and return it in the envelope provided as soon as possible. It is your responsibility to notify the Department of Taxation when there are e-mail address changes.

Any questions may be directed to the:

  Ohio Department of Taxation
  Excise and Motor Fuel Tax Division
  P.O. Box 530
  Columbus, Ohio 43216-0530
  Telephone: (855) 466-3921
  Fax: (206) 350-6722