Collect Tax on Phone and Online Tobacco Sales, More Money for State Health Care Programs..

June 27, 2008 - COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Ohio residents who bought cigarettes over the phone from out-of-state vendors are being fined by the state, racking up about $2.2 million in uncollected cigarette taxes. The state Department of Taxation sent bills to about 5,500 residents after requesting the names of Ohioans who purchased cigarettes from five vendors between July 2007 and March. Most bills totaled less than $600, though one person received a bill for about $2,700. Those who refuse to pay could be referred to the Ohio Attorney General's Office and face penalties, including property liens. In Franklin County, about 400 people were billed about $140,000 for about 11,000 cartons of cigarettes. Cigarette prices in Columbus range from about $4.50 to $5 per pack. The current cigarette tax is $1.25 a pack or $12.50 a carton, plus a 5.5 percent state sales tax. County and transit-authority sales taxes range from 0.5 percent to 2.25 percent. ( Cigarette buyers dunned by The Enquirer, 6/9/2008) Columbus - Smokers who managed to evade Ohio state cigarette taxes through online (Internet) purchases between July and March will be receiving a bill for unpaid excise taxes, the grand total of which is over $2.15 mn. During 2006, the state billed $568,000 in unpaid taxes on cigarettes. (Online cigarette buyers hit with state tax bills, Tobacco International Digest, 6/2008)