Cigarette, Tobacco and Vaping Excise Taxes Frequently Asked Questions

Here you will find answers to frequently asked questions regarding Cigarette, Tobacco and Vaping Excise taxes administered by the Massachusetts Department of Revenue (DOR).

Page updated: August 15, 2023.

Table of Contents

Application & renewal for a license or an appointment

Where may I obtain an application for a license?

You will need to create an online account using MassTaxConnect. You can apply for the following license:

  • Cigarette
  • Cigar and smoking tobacco.

What form should I use when applying for a retailer license?

There are no longer paper forms for retailer licenses. Using MassTaxConnect you will need to:

  • Add a cigarette or cigar tax account and
  • Select the retailer option.

What form should an applicant for appointment as a cigarette stamper use?

For quicker review such an applicant can submit an electronic application through MassTax Connect. You can also use the Form CTL.

Where should I mail my completed application form?

Applicants that choose to mail the Form CTL and payment or need to submit additional documents should submit to:

Miscellaneous Excise Unit
Attn: Tobacco Unit
PO Box 7004
Boston, MA 02204


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 online using MassTaxConnect.

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.

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.

If I am a current licensee, will renewal applications automatically be mailed to me?

If you licensed using MassTaxConnect the Department will automatically mail renewal applications to all current licensees. However, a licensee must be certain to inform DOR of any changes in its mailing address.

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 reason for DOR denying the initial application for a license or appointment may also be used to deny an application for renewal.

License requirements

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,
  • Be licensed as a manufacturer, or
  • 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.

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. If requesting credit, the stamper must file a surety bond that guarantees payment of all amounts due for cigarette excise stamps purchased on credit from DOR.

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.

DOR may also do a site visit to the applicant's business premises. As appropriate,  DOR'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.

How will I be notified whether the license or appointment has been approved?

DOR will notify the applicant in writing of its decision whether to grant or deny the application. Once an applicant is approved, the license or appointment will be mailed to the applicant at the business address shown on the application.

Why may the Department refuse to grant an application?

DOR 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 DOR may rely to deny the grant of a license are listed in section 67 of M.G.L. c. 62C.

DOR may also apply section 67 of M.G.L. c. 62C in reviewing an application for appointment as a stamper.

Suspension or revocation of a license or appointment

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:

  • Keeping of complete and accurate records
  • Timely filing of all required returns and informational schedules and

Payment of the cigarette excise and the sales tax, as applicable.

On what grounds may the Department suspend or revoke a license?

DOR'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.

Who has the authority to revoke appointments of cigarette stampers?

DOR has the authority to suspend or revoke the appointments of cigarette stampers pursuant to:

  • M.G.L. c. 62C, § 68 and
  • M.G.L. c. 64C, § 30.

The appointment as a cigarette stamper will not be unreasonably withheld. Once granted, a cigarette stamper 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.

Appeal rights

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.

What is the address and telephone number of the Appellate Tax Board?

The address and telephone number of the Appellate Tax Board are as follows:

Appellate Tax Board
100 Cambridge Street, Suite 200
Boston, MA 02114
(617) 727-3100

Stamps & payments

How do I order cigarette stamps?

Stamps are ordered through the stamp vendor SICPA using

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 credit desired.  If the stamper fails to pay, DOR will mail a Notice of Assessment (NOA).  The NOA will be for the gross amount due, i.e., compensation to the stamper will be disallowed.  The NOA 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.

How do I pay the Department for the stamps?

All cigarette stampers appointment by the Commissioner to purchase and affix cigarette excise stamps, pursuant to M.G.L. c. 64C SS 30, shall pay for these stamps via electronic transfer of funds for any stamps purchased on or after September 1, 2003. Payments can be made on MassTaxConnect. Stampers shall continue to file returns electronically on MassTaxConnect.

How am I compensated for affixing cigarette Stamps?

  • For encrypted stamps purchased and not returned for abatement, $12 per roll of 1,200 stamps
  • In each fiscal year, $600 per roll or 30,000 encrypted stamps for the first 50 rolls purchased and
  • $200 per each additional roll of 30,000 encrypted stamps purchased.

Compensation may be disallowed, for example, if a:

  • Check is dishonored or
  • Payment is late.

Compensation is deducted from the stamper’s amount due.

What is the rate of tax?

As of July 31, 2013, the rate is .1755 cents per cigarette ($3.51 per pack of 20 and $4.3875 per pack of 25).

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
  • Don’t need to be stamped.

Returns & refunds

What are the penalties if I do not file my returns on time?

If returns aren’t 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
  • 4 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.

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.

Is there a different form for an amended return?

No special form is required to amend a return. Log in to MassTaxConnect. You can select the tax account and period you would like to amend.

Do you get a refund for any unsold stamps on cigarettes?

The tax paid for unsold or misapplied stamps may be refunded.  Submit Massachusetts Form ABT–Application and misapplied stamps must be returned to:

Cigarette and Tobacco Unit
200 Arlington Street
Chelsea, MA  02150. 

If returning whole rolls of stamps, please fill out the Encrypted Cigarette Excise Stamp Roll Return Request Form and email the form to maexcisestamp 

Instructions of returning the rolls can be found on the Roll Return Request form.  Cigarettes that have a stamp affixed to them must be returned to the Cigarette Manufacturer and must execute an affidavit stating that they have been returned.  Attach the affidavit to Form ABT.

Tobacco Product Manufacturers (TPM) Directory & non-participating manufacturers

What is the Tobacco Product Manufacturer (TPM) Directory?

Chapter 90 of the Acts of 2004, which adds a new Chapter 94F to the M.G.L., 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 DOR. This restriction also applies to roll-your-own tobacco.

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. Checking the Directory for any updates is the responsibility of all:

  • Wholesalers
  • Stampers and
  • Retailers.

The date of the recent update is indicated in 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?

Violations of M.G.L. c. 94F are subject to civil and criminal penalties. Stampers also may have their stamping authority suspended or revoked. Non-compliant cigarettes are contraband and subject to seizure and forfeiture.

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.

Who is a Non-Participating Manufacturer?

A non-participating manufacturer (NPM) is a cigarette manufacturer that is not a party to the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement.

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 DOR even if:

  • A stamper didn’t stamp any cigarettes for an NPM, or 
  • The number required in any column is "0."

Minimum pricing

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.

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.

Where may I obtain the list of presumptive minimum retail prices?

This list can be found under the section "Minimum Retail Price List" on this web site.

Where may I obtain the list of presumptive minimum wholesale prices?

This list may be obtained by calling the Cigarette Tax Unit at (617) 887-5090.

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. 

Smoking bar permits

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. 

Visit Licensed Smoking Bar Permits for a complete listing. 

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.

How may I obtain a smoking bar permit?

Permit applications are available from the Miscellaneous Excise Unit. The telephone number is (617) 887-5090 and the fax number is (617) 660-0162. The permits may also be downloaded from this web site.

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 20 days following the end of the preceding quarter. The quarterly declaration shall demonstrate that the revenues generated from the sale of tobacco products are equal to or greater than 51% 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.

If I have a permit to operate a 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.

Flavored tobacco and vaping products

Are the sales of flavored tobacco and vaping products restricted?

Yes. In 2019, An Act Modernizing Tobacco Control imposed restrictions on the sale of nicotine vaping, and flavored vaping and tobacco products. Additionally, licensing, reporting and tax collection requirements were put in place.

Can retail stores sell vaping products?

Retail stores, such as convenience stores, gas stations and other retailers may only sell non-flavored nicotine vaping products provided the nicotine content is 35 mg/ml or less. Non-flavored nicotine vaping products, with nicotine content more than 35 mg/ml can be sold only at retail tobacco stores or smoking bars to buyers 21 years of age or older.

Where can flavored tobacco products and flavored nicotine vaping products be sold?

Flavored tobacco products such as menthol cigarettes, flavored cigars and flavored chewing tobacco can be sold in retail stores until June 1, 2020. As of that date, flavored tobacco and flavored vaping products may be purchased and consumed only at licensed smoking bars. Flavored vaping products are sold at smoking bars only.

What are the licensing requirements for the sale of flavored tobacco and vaping product sales?

As of June 1, 2020, a license is required to sell flavored tobacco and vaping products on or after that date.

Retail stores: Must be licensed to sell non-flavored vape products with nicotine content less than 35 mg/ml.

21 years of age or older retail tobacco stores: Must be licensed to sell non-flavored tobacco products and non-flavored nicotine vaping products with or without nicotine content.

Smoking bars: Must be licensed to sell all nicotine vaping products and flavored tobacco products for consumption on their premises.

Distributors: Must be licensed to sell flavored and non-flavored vaping products with or without nicotine content, and flavored tobacco products to retailers and other distributors.

Are there new requirements for online ENDS retailers as of March 27, 2021?

Yes. In addition to existing registration and tax return and remittance requirements, online retailers who are selling and shipping Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems ("ENDS") in Massachusetts are required to do the following as of March 27, 2021. [See P.L. 111-154]

  • Verify age of customers using a commercially available database
  • Register with the Department of Revenue using Form CT-PAR PACT Act Registration Form
  • Each month, a list of all transactions must be sent to the Massachusetts Department of Revenue, Cigarette and Tobacco Excise Unit using Form CT-MM T Massachusetts State Tobacco/ENDS Report and Form CT-MM Monthly Memorandum for PACT Act Registrants

What’s the first due date for these new forms?

The first due date for these forms is April 10, 2021.

Where should the new forms be sent when completed?

Email the forms to or mail them to:   

Massachusetts Department of Revenue
Cigarette and Tobacco Excise Unit
P.O. Box 7004
Boston, MA 02204-7004

How do you register for an ENDS license?

Beginning May 1, 2020, license registration can be done online through MassTaxConnect.

When is a license required for the sale of ENDS ?

As of June 1, 2020, a license is required to sell nicotine delivery systems.

Are there penalties for selling ENDS without a license?

Yes. Sellers could be subject to a civil penalty of not more than $5,000 for the first offense and not more than $25,000 for a second or subsequent offense.

Is there a requirement to remove the products you are no longer licensed to sell as of June 1, 2020?

Yes. Retail establishments currently selling products that they will need to be licensed for to sell by June 1, 2020, must remove any items they are no longer licensed to sell from their premises.

Is there an excise tax?

Yes. Effective June 1, 2020, a 75% excise tax must be collected on the wholesale price of all ENDS, including liquid or gel for vaping and any accessories for the device (including batteries), in addition to the state’s 6.25% sales tax.

Are non-nicotine vaping products subject to the ENDS Excise?

Yes, the ENDS excise applies to both nicotine and non-nicotine products. Generally, non-nicotine products include any non-combustible liquid or gel that is manufactured into a product for use in an ENDS device (for example, non-nicotine pods, vials, or cartridges).  CBD and other hemp related products that are marketed or sold for use in the ENDS device are subject to the ENDS excise.

Marijuana products and marijuana accessories as defined in section 1 of chapter 94G are not subject to the ENDS excise; provided, however, that marijuana accessories that are manufactured to also deliver nicotine are considered ENDS and are subject to the ENDS excise. CBD and other hemp related products, by definition, are not marijuana products and are therefore subject to the ENDS excise if they are marketed or sold for use in an ENDS.

Food and Drug Administration approved smoking cessation products, or products sold for other medical purposes, that are marketed and sold or prescribed exclusively for that purpose are exempt from the excise.

NOTE:  The Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources has prohibited the sale and manufacture of any hemp-derived Delta-8 type products in the Commonwealth as Delta-8 THC remains a controlled substance regardless of the source. See, Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources Policy Statement. Delta-8 related products should not be sold for any purpose, including use in ENDS devices, in the Commonwealth. However, any Delta-8 or similar products that are imported, possessed, or sold in the Commonwealth are subject to the ENDS excise.

Does the ENDS excise apply to products used to vape marijuana?

In general, where a vaping device can be used to vape nicotine, the device is subject to the ENDS excise, even if the device can also be used to vape marijuana.  However, where a vaping device can only be used to vape marijuana, such as a self-contained marijuana vaping pen, the device is not subject to the ENDS excise.

What is the requirement for filing returns and paying excise tax to DOR?

The 75% excise tax will be reported on a separate return. Returns will be due monthly as of June 1, 2020. The first payment and return for 2020 is due July 20, 2020.

Who should I call with questions about tobacco and vaping products?

Call the Cigarette and Tobacco Excise Unit at (617) 887-5090.

I am an in-state retailer and have non-flavored vaping products in my inventory that I purchased prior to June 1, 2020.  Do I have to charge the ENDS excise to my customers when I sell those products on or after June 1st 

No.  Any non-flavored vaping product that you had in your inventory prior to June 1, 2020 is not subject to the ENDS excise.  Sales of flavored vaping products are not allowed by law.

Am I required to charge sales tax on those sales? 

Yes.  All sales of non-flavored vaping products, whether those products come from inventory prior to June 1, 2020 or after are subject to the sales tax.

I am a licensed in-state manufacturer or distributor and have vaping products in my inventory that I manufactured or acquired prior to June 1, 2020.  Do I have to pay the ENDS excise on these products?

No.  Any vaping product that you have manufactured or acquired prior to June 1, 2020 is not subject to the ENDS excise.  You should keep detailed records of the products you have in inventory prior to June 1, 2020 in order to substantiate that those products were not subject to the ENDS excise.

Do I charge retailers or other purchasers the ENDS excise if I sell vaping products that were manufactured or acquired prior to June 1, 2020? 

No.  If you sell vaping products that you manufactured or acquired prior to June 1, 2020 to retailers or other purchasers, no ENDS excise is due.  You must indicate on the invoice to the retailer or other purchaser that the ENDS excise was not charged because the products sold were manufactured or acquired in Massachusetts prior to June 1, 2020.

I am a licensed out-of-state manufacturer or distributor.  When does the ENDS excise apply to me? 

The ENDS excise is imposed on all vaping products that you sell or import into Massachusetts on or after June 1, 2020.

For more information?

Visit TIR 20-6: Tax and Licensing Provisions in An Act Modernizing Tobacco Control.

Additional questions

What should I do if I have additional questions or need further information?

You should call DOR's Miscellaneous Excises Unit at (617) 887-5090.


General questions 

  • (617) 887-5090

Schedule CT-NPM for stampers

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