Connecticut - bills residents for unstamped cigarettes purchases..

December 14, 2009 - HARTFORD — The state Department of Revenue Services (DRS) said Thursday, December 10th it has mailed nearly 1,000 bills this week to Connecticut residents who owe state taxes for unstamped cigarettes bought over the Internet.

The bills detailed the tax and interest owed on purchases made between 2007 and 2008. There usually is a lag in time from the point of purchases to when Internet retailers report transactions to states.

A federal law known as the Jenkins Act requires online and mail-order retailers to give state tax departments the names and addresses of purchasers, brands and quantity of cigarettes shipped into each state, to make sure the appropriate taxes are paid.

“Despite any advertisements smokers may have seen, there are no tax-free cigarettes,” DRS Commissioner Richard Nicholson said in a statement. Consumers who buy cigarettes without paying tax at the time of the purchase must file Form AU-75, Tax Return for Persons in Possession of Unstamped Cigarettes, to pay cigarette and use taxes to the state.

DRS has conducted similar compliance programs in the past and regularly sends letters to newly discovered Web sites to advise them of Connecticut’s law against the shipment of untaxed cigarettes to unlicensed individuals in the state and of the Jenkins Act requirements.

Individuals who receive a DRS notice should contact the Excise Unit Audit Division at 860-541-3224.

The department’s announcement about the compliance action came one day after a coalition of public health organizations issued a report saying most states need to commit more resources to smoking prevention and cessation programs.

Connecticut, 45 states and the District of Columbia receive money annually as part of a November 1998 master settlement agreement to a lawsuit against tobacco companies.

State Attorney General Richard Blumenthal also said Connecticut invests “far less than we should” on smoking prevention initiatives, and he will continue to advocate for increased Medicaid funding at the federal level for cessation efforts and state funding to reach out to children.

Adam Liegeot, spokesman for Gov. M. Jodi Rell, said Connecticut’s excise tax of $3 per pack is one of the highest in the nation and the state bans smoking in public places.

The PACT (Prevent All Cigarette Trafficking) Act closes gaps in current federal laws regulating ‘remote’ or ‘delivery’ sales of cigarettes and smokeless tobacco products. The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee has unanimously approved legislation that will help combat online cigarette sales and prevent youth access to tobacco products. The act prohibits the United States Postal Service from delivering tobacco products.. UPS, FedEX and DHL have signed agreements with state attorneys general that they will not deliver tobacco products — but not the Postal Service - so far. (U.S. - Senate Judiciary Committee Approves PACT ACT..)

Related news briefs:
NY City Can Proceed With Lawsuits Against 10 Online Cigarette Vendors..;
Collect Tax on Phone and Online Tobacco Sales, More Money for State Health Care Programs..;

Reference: Taxman eyes online cigarette sales by Angela Carter (, Register Staff, New Heaven Register, 12/11/2009.