Revenue Commissioner Alan LeBovidge today announced that the presumptive minimum prices on cigarettes calculated by the Department of Revenue remain in effect while DOR challenges an Appellate Tax Board decision that questions the validity of DOR's regulations.
"For people who buy and sell cigarettes, nothing has changed," LeBovidge said. "We believe the decision will be overturned on appeal. Stores that ignore the minimum price on cigarettes will be subject to penalties."
Among the penalties DOR could impose is a five-day suspension of the license to sell cigarettes in Massachusetts.
The ATB, a quasi-judicial body, ruled recently that the process that cigarette retailers must use to prove to DOR that they can sell cigarettes below the minimum price is unconstitutional. The board also ruled that a cigarette retailer, who appealed to the ATB, was not given due process when his license to sell cigarettes was suspended. DOR disagrees with the ATB's findings, and has filed a notice with the Massachusetts Appeals Court.
DOR regulates the minimum price of cigarettes under a 1945 law that prohibits retailers from selling cigarettes below cost. Massachusetts is one of 23 states that have minimum pricing laws. To view the minimum prices select Cigarette and Tobacco Tax and then select Minimum Retail Price List.