Massachusetts Department of Revenue
Cigarette Excise Unit
Taxation in Massachusetts
Massachusetts imposes an excise tax on all cigars and smoking tobacco that a cigar distributor imports or causes to be imported into the commonwealth, or that he manufactures in the commonwealth. Every cigar distributor authorized by the commissioner to make returns and pay the excise on cigars or smoking tobacco sold, shipped, or delivered by him to any person in the commonwealth is liable for the collection and payment of the excise on all cigars and smoking tobacco sold, shipped, or delivered. This tax is imposed on cigar distributors at the time cigars or smoking tobacco are manufactured, purchased, imported, received, or acquired in the commonwealth.
Every cigar retailer or resident in possession of cigars or smoking tobacco upon which the excise has not previously been paid is liable for the tax. The amount of the excise advanced and paid by a cigar distributor or cigar retailer will be added to the sales price of the cigars or smoking tobacco.
No person or entity is permitted to act as a cigar distributor or cigar retailer in Massachusetts without being licensed. Anyone who plans to distribute or sell cigars and smoking tobacco must register for sales tax (at www.mass.gov/dor) and obtain a Distributor License for Cigars and Smoking Tobacco (Form CT-CDL) and/or a Tobacco Retailer License (Form CT-RL) for cigars and smoking tobacco. Tobacco distributor and retailer license applications are subject to a background check, but the commissioner will grant or deny the license within 90 days from the date of application. There is no fee for these applications if cigarettes are not sold over-the-counter or in vending machines. A tobacco retailer license is valid for two years, with the current version expiring on September 30, 2016, while a tobacco distributor license is valid for one year, with the current version expiring on September 30, 2015.
All persons who acquire untaxed smokeless tobacco, cigars, and smoking tobacco in Massachusetts must file an Untaxed Cigarette, Smokeless Tobacco, Cigar, and Smoking Tobacco Return (Form CTS-8C) with the Massachusetts Department of Revenue on or before the 20th day of each month, along with payment for taxes due.
Cigar distributors must also file an excise return (Form Cigar-2) on or before the 20th day of the month following each calendar quarter, along with payment for the taxes due. Taxpayers must file a return even if no tax is due. All required schedules must be attached for the return to be considered complete. Due dates for the return are as follows:
Quarter endingDue Date
March 31 April 20
June 30 July 20
September 30 October 20
December 31 January 20
Massachusetts law defines “smoking” or “smoke” as the lighting of a cigar, cigarette, pipe, or other tobacco product, or possessing a lighted cigar, cigarette, pipe, or other tobacco or non-tobacco product designed to be combusted and inhaled.
“Cigarette” means (1) any roll of tobacco wrapped in paper or in any substance not containing tobacco, (2) little cigars, which means rolls of tobacco wrapped in leaf tobacco or any substance containing tobacco and as to which 1,000 units weigh not more than 3 pounds, and (3) any roll of tobacco wrapped in any substance containing tobacco which, because of its appearance, the type of tobacco used in the filler, or its packaging and labeling, is likely to be offered to, or purchased by, consumers as a cigarette.
“Taxed cigars and smoking tobacco” include cigars and smoking tobacco upon which the excise has been paid in full by the date on which payment is due, and with respect to which the return has been completed, signed and filed with the commissioner by the date on which the return is due.
“Untaxed cigars and smoking tobacco” include cigars and smoking tobacco upon which the excise has not been paid in full by the date on which payment is due, or with respect to which the return has not been completed, signed and filed with the commissioner by the date on which the return is due.
A “cigar distributor” is (i) any person who imports, or causes to be imported, into the commonwealth cigars or smoking tobacco for sale, or who manufactures cigars or smoking tobacco in the commonwealth, and (ii) any person within or without the commonwealth who is authorized by the commissioner to make returns and pay the excise on cigars and smoking tobacco sold, shipped or delivered by him to any person in the commonwealth.
A “retail tobacco store” is an establishment whose primary purpose is to sell or offer for sale to consumers, but not for resale, tobacco products and paraphernalia, in which the sale of other products is merely incidental, and in which persons under the age of 18 is prohibited at all times. A retail tobacco store must maintain a valid permit for the retail sale of tobacco products as required to be issued by the appropriate authority in the city or town where the establishment is located.
A “smoking bar” is an establishment that occupies exclusively an enclosed indoor space and that primarily is 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 the age of 18 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; maintains a valid permit for the retail sale of tobacco products as required to be issued by the appropriate authority in the city or town where the establishment is located; and, maintains a valid permit to operate a smoking bar issued by the department of revenue.
“Wholesale price” means (i) in the case of a manufacturer of cigars and smoking tobacco, the price set for such products or, if no price has been set, the wholesale value of these products; (ii) in the case of a cigar distributor who is not a manufacturer of cigars or smoking tobacco, the price at which the cigar distributor purchased these products; or (iii) in the case of a cigar retailer or a consumer, the price at which he purchased these products.