- Where may I obtain an application for a license?
- What form should I use when applying for a license?
- What form should an applicant for appointment as a cigarette stamper use?
- Where should I mail my completed application form?
- Must I also register to collect the sales tax? If so, what form do I need to register for sales tax?
- When may I engage in the business permitted by the license or appointment?
- Must I have a tobacco sales permit issued by the city or town in which I do business?
- If I am a current licensee, will renewal applications automatically be mailed to me?
- What are the requirements for a Wholesaler's License?
- What are the requirements for a Stamper?
- What type of investigation will the Department conduct?
- How will I be notified whether the license or appointment has been approved?
- Why may the Department refuse to grant an application?
LICENSE OR APPOINTMENT RENEWAL
SUSPENSION OR REVOCATION OF A LICENSE OR APPOINTMENT
- What must I do to maintain my license or appointment?
- On what grounds may the Department suspend or revoke a license?
- Who has the authority to revoke appointments of cigarette stampers?
- What are my appeal rights if my license application is denied or my license is revoked?
- What is the address and telephone number of the Appellate Tax Board?
- How do I order cigarette stamps?
- What are the billing requirements?
- How do I pay the Department for the stamps?
- How am I compensated for affixing cigarette stamps?
- What is the rate of tax?
- Is there any tax exemption?
- What are the penalties if I do not file my returns on time?
- Can you request an extension for filing a return?
- Is there a different form for an amended return?
THE TOBACCO PRODUCT MANUFACTURER (TPM) DIRECTORY
- What is the Tobacco Product Manufacturer (TPM) Directory ?
- Where can I find the TPM Directory?
- What are the penalties for selling, offering to sell, or stamping cigarettes for sale In Massachusetts that are not on the TPM Directory?
- What if I have a question about the TPM Directory?
- Who is a Non-Participating Manufacturer?
- What does the Department require if a Stamper stamps cigarettes manufactured by NPMs?
- Does Massachusetts regulate the price of cigarettes?
- May I sell cigarettes below the presumptive minimum price?
- Where may I obtain the list of presumptive minimum retail prices?
- Where may I obtain the list of presumptive minimum wholesale prices?
- Is any written guidance available?
SMOKING BAR PERMITS
- What is a smoking bar?
- What is a smoking bar permit?
- How may I obtain a smoking bar permit?
- Are there any additional reporting requirements in order to keep my smoking bar permit effective?
- If I have a permit to operate smoking bar issued by the city in which my smoking bar is located, do I also need a permit from the Department?
APPLICATION FOR A LICENSE OR AN APPOINTMENT
1. Where may I obtain an application for a license?
License application forms are available from the Filing Enforcement Bureau/Cigarette Tax Unit of the Department of Revenue (the Department). The telephone number is (617) 887-5090, and the fax number is (617) 887-5039. Forms may also be downloaded from this web site.
2. What form should I use when applying for a license?
Applicants applying for a cigarette/tobacco retailer's license should use Form CT-RL. Applicants applying for a cigar distribution license should use Form CT-CDL. Every other cigarette license applicant should use Form CTL.
4. Where should I mail my completed application form?
Applicants should submit a completed application form, together with the application fee, to the Filing Enforcement Bureau/Cigarette Tax Unit of the Department at PO Box 7004, Boston, MA 02204.
5. Must I also register to collect the sales tax? If so, what form do I need to register for sales tax?
Applicants must register their business on line using MassTaxConnect.
6. When may I engage in the business permitted by the license or appointment?
You may start business once the license, or letter of appointment if you are a stamper, has been issued.
7. Must I have a tobacco sales permit issued by the city or town in which I do business?
Most cities and towns in Massachusetts require that cigarette retailers have local tobacco sales permits. You should check with the Board of Health of the city or town in which you do business.
8. If I am a current licensee, will renewal applications automatically be mailed to me?
Yes, the Department will automatically mail renewal applications to all current licensees. However, a licensee must be certain to inform the Department of any changes in its mailing address.
1. What are the requirements for a Wholesaler's License?
An applicant applying for a wholesaler's license must furnish affidavits from 3 separate Massachusetts licensed cigarette manufacturers. The affidavits must state that, if the Commissioner grants the license, the manufacturer will sell cigarettes to the wholesaler. If one or more of the manufacturers ceases to do business as a manufacturer, ceases to be licensed as a manufacturer, or ceases to supply cigarettes to the wholesaler, the licensee must, within 60 days, provide substitute affidavit(s) from other manufacturer(s). Failure to do so will result in the suspension or revocation of the wholesaler license. A wholesaler must meet the definition in M.G.L. c. 64C, § 1.
2. What are the requirements for a Stamper?
A stamper is authorized by the Commissioner. A stamper must be licensed as a wholesaler, vending machine operator, unclassified acquirer or manufacturer. Once authorized, the stamper must pay for stamps by way of electronic funds transfer, and if requesting credit, must file a surety bond which guarantees payment of all amounts due for cigarette excise stamps purchased on credit from the Department.
3. What type of investigation will the Department conduct?
The investigation may include a review of any prior audit activity concerning the applicant and any prior tax delinquency or enforcement actions relating to the applicant or its principals, including any history of license suspensions or revocations. The Department may also do a site visit to the applicant's business premises. As appropriate, the Department's investigation may include inquiries to federal, state and local law enforcement officials concerning the existence of criminal complaints, proceedings or convictions against the applicant or its principals or employees.
4. How will I be notified whether the license or appointment has been approved?
The Department will notify the applicant in writing of its decision whether to grant or deny the application. Upon approval of an applicant, the license or appointment will be mailed to the applicant at the business address shown on the application.
5. Why may the Department refuse to grant an application?
The Department may deny the license application of any applicant that has been convicted of violating M.G.L. c. 64C or any other pertinent law. Other grounds on which the Department may rely to deny the grant of a license are listed in section 67 of M.G.L. c. 62C.
The Department may also apply section 67 of M.G.L. c. 62C in reviewing an application for appointment as a stamper.
LICENSE OR APPOINTMENT RENEWAL
1. How often must I renew my license or appointment?
Most cigarette licenses must be renewed by June 30 of each year. However, retailer licenses are valid for two years. They expire on September 30 of each year ending in an even digit (e.g., 2012 and 2014).
Appointments of stampers expire annually on June 30.
The grounds on which the Department may rely to deny the initial application for a license or appointment may generally also be used to deny an application for renewal.
SUSPENSION OR REVOCATION OF A LICENSE OR APPOINTMENT
1. What must I do to maintain my license or appointment?
Each cigarette licensee and cigarette stamper must follow all the requirements imposed upon licensees and stampers under all applicable Massachusetts statutes and regulations, including M.G.L. c. 62C, c. 64C, and c. 94E. These duties include, but are not limited to, the keeping of complete and accurate records, the timely filing of all required returns and informational schedules and the payment of the cigarette excise and the sales tax, as applicable.
2. On what grounds may the Department suspend or revoke a license?
The Department's authority to suspend or revoke a license and the grounds on which a suspension or revocation may be based are found in M.G.L. c. 62C, § 47A and M.G.L. c. 62C, § 68.
3. Who has the authority to revoke appointments of cigarette stampers?
The Department has the authority to suspend or revoke the appointments of cigarette stampers pursuant to M.G.L. c. 62C, § 68 and c. 64C, § 30. The appointment as a cigarette stamper will not be unreasonably withheld and, once granted, will not be revoked, suspended or denied renewal unreasonably, as long as the appointed stamper complies with all requirements under M.G.L. c. 62C, c. 64C and c. 94E.
1. What are my appeal rights if my license application is denied or my license is revoked?
An applicant whose initial or renewal application for a license has been denied may appeal the denial to the Appellate Tax Board within 60 days of the date of notice of denial.
A licensee whose license has been suspended or revoked has the right to appeal to the Appellate Tax Board within 10 days after written notice of the suspension or revocation has been mailed to the licensee.
Appellate Tax Board
100 Cambridge Street, Suite 200
Boston, MA 02114
2. What are the billing requirements?
Cigarette stampers have 30 days to pay for the stamps, if the stamper has posted a bond in the amount of the credit desired. If the stamper fails to pay, the Department will bill the stamper (Form CT-7). The bill will be for the gross amount due, i.e., compensation to the stamper will be disallowed. The bill will be sent to the stamper before any attempt is made to collect on the bond. No stamper can buy stamps until all outstanding bills are paid.
3. How do I pay the Department for the stamps?
All cigarette stampers appointed by the Commissioner to purchase and affix cigarette excise stamps, pursuant to M.G.L. c. 64C, § 30, shall pay for these stamps via electronic transfer of funds for any stamps purchased on or after September 1, 2003. An exception to the electronic payment requirement will be made for stampers that pay for cigarette stamps at the time they pick up their stamps from the Department. Stampers shall continue to file returns on paper. (See the Department's Technical Information Release 03-15 available on this website.)
4. How am I compensated for affixing cigarette stamps?
Cigarette stampers are compensated at the rate of $1.85 per 600 stamps purchased for affixing stamps to cigarette packages. Compensation may be disallowed, for example, if a check is dishonored or payment is late. Compensation is deducted from the stamper's amount due.
6. Is there any tax exemption?
Sales of cigarettes to the federal government and the military and cigarettes shipped out of Massachusetts are exempt from tax and need not be stamped.
1. What are the penalties if I do not file my returns on time?
If returns are not properly filed, interest and penalties may be assessed. As of January 1, 1993, the Massachusetts interest rate is based on the federal short-term rate plus four percentage points, compounded daily. The penalty for late filing is 1%/month or fraction thereof, not to exceed 25% of the amount due; the penalty for late payment is .5%/month for each month or fraction thereof, not to exceed 25% of the amount due.
2. Can you request an extension for filing a return?
The Commissioner may grant a reasonable extension of time for filing a return for good cause. Requests must be in writing. Failure to pay 80% of the tax required to be paid on or before the due date for payment of tax will void any extension of time to file and the return will be subject to penalty as a late return.
1. Do you get a refund for any unsold stamps on cigarettes?
The tax paid for unsold or misapplied stamps may be refunded. Submit Form CA-6, Application for Abatement/Amended Return, to the Customer Service Bureau. The unsold or misapplied stamps must be returned to the Department's Customer Service Bureau at 200 Arlington Street, Chelsea, MA 02150. The telephone number is (617) 887-6367, or toll free in Massachusetts at 1 (800) 392-6089. Cigarettes must be returned to the cigarette manufacturer, who must execute an affidavit stating that they have been returned. Attach the affidavit to Form CA-6.
THE TOBACCO PRODUCT MANUFACTURER (TPM) DIRECTORY
1. What is the Tobacco Product Manufacturer (TPM) Directory ?
Chapter 90 of the Acts of 2004, which adds a new Chapter 94F to the Massachusetts General Laws, is now in effect. Under Chapter 94F, as of August 4, 2004, a cigarette brand cannot be sold or offered for sale in Massachusetts, or stamped for sale in Massachusetts, unless the manufacturer and the brand family are listed in the Tobacco Product Manufacturer (TPM) Directory published by the Department. This restriction applies as well to roll-your-own tobacco.
2. Where can I find the TPM Directory?
The TPM Directory can be found here.
Manufacturers and brands may be added to or deleted from the Directory from time to time. It is the responsibility of all wholesalers, stampers, and retailers to check the Directory for any updates. The date of the recent update is indicated in the TPM Directory.
3. What are the penalties for selling, offering to sell, or stamping cigarettes for sale In Massachusetts that are not on the TPM Directory?
Violations of M.G.L. c. 94F are subject to civil and criminal penalties, and stampers also may have their stamping authority suspended or revoked. Non-compliant cigarettes are contraband and subject to seizure and forfeiture.
4. What if I have a question about the TPM Directory?
Questions regarding manufacturers and brands listed, or not listed, on the TPM Directory should be directed to the Massachusetts Attorney General's Office (AG) at (617) 727-2200, ext. 2968.
2. What does the Department require if a Stamper stamps cigarettes manufactured by NPMs?
A stamper may not stamp cigarettes manufactured by NPMs unless the manufacturer and brand family are identified in the TPM Directory. If a cigarette brand is not listed in the TPM Directory, it may not be stamped for sale, or sold, in Massachusetts.
Additionally, all stampers are required to file a Schedule CT-NPM (Stamper's Reporting Schedule on Sales By Non-Participating Manufacturers) within 20 days of the close of each reporting month. The Schedule must be filled out and filed with the Department even if a stamper did not stamp any cigarettes for an NPM, or if the number required in any column is "0."
1. Does Massachusetts regulate the price of cigarettes?
Yes. The Department calculates a presumptive retail minimum cost and presumptive wholesale minimum cost of cigarettes pursuant to M.G.L. c. 64C, §§ 12 to 21.
2. May I sell cigarettes below the presumptive minimum price?
No. Unless an exemption applies, a retailer or wholesaler must have the prior written approval of the Commissioner to sell cigarettes below the presumptive minimum price. This approval may be obtained only pursuant to 830 C.M.R. 64C.14.1.
5. Is any written guidance available?
Yes. In addition to M.G.L. c. 64C and 830 C.M.R. 64C.14.1, Directive 92-4 and Directive 02-2 also address minimum pricing issues. The Directives may be found on this website.
Return to Questions
SMOKING BAR PERMITS
1. What is a smoking bar?
A smoking bar is defined in M.G.L. c. 270, § 22 as an establishment that exclusively occupies an enclosed indoor space and is primarily engaged in the retail sale of tobacco products for consumption by customers on the premises; derives revenue from the sale of food, alcohol or other beverages that is incidental to the sale of the tobacco products; prohibits entry to a person under eighteen years of age during the time when the establishment is open for business; prohibits any food or beverage not sold directly by the business to be consumed on the premises; and maintains a valid license or permit for the retail sale of tobacco products as required to be issued by the appropriate authority in the city or town where the smoking bar is located.
2. What is a smoking bar permit?
Any person or entity wishing to be certified under M.G.L. c. 270, § 22A as a smoking bar must be issued a permit by the Commissioner to operate a smoking bar. The permit is valid for a period of two years from the date of issuance.
3. How may I obtain a smoking bar permit?
Permit application forms are available from the Bureau of Desk Audit/Cigarette Tax Unit of the Department. The telephone number is (617) 887-5090 and the fax number is (617) 887-5039. The permits may also be downloaded from this web site.
4. Are there any additional reporting requirements in order to keep my smoking bar permit effective?
Yes. Every smoking bar must file a quarterly declaration with the Commissioner no later than twenty days following the end of the preceding quarter. The quarterly declaration shall demonstrate that the revenues generated from the sale of tobacco products is equal to or greater than fifty-one per cent of the total combined revenues generated by the sale of tobacco products, food and beverages. The declaration must be signed by the owner under the pains and penalties of perjury.
5. If I have a permit to operate smoking bar issued by the city in which my smoking bar is located, do I also need a permit from the Department?
Yes. A permit from a city or town is not a substitute for a permit from the Department.
1. What should I do if I have additional questions or need further information?
You should call the Filing Enforcement Bureau/Cigarette Tax Unit of the Department. The telephone number is (617) 887-5090.