IPCPR Legislative | Operating Your Business in Massachusetts

Operating Your Business in Massachusetts


Operating Your Business in Massachusetts

No person or entity is permitted to act as a tobacco distributor or retailer in Massachusetts without being licensed. Anyone who plans to distribute or sell cigars, smoking tobacco, or smokeless 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). 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 ending                   Due Date
March 31                                April 20
June 30                                     July 20
September 30                      October 20
December 31                        January 20


Businesses in Massachusetts may also apply for a Smoking Bar Permit (Form SBP), which is valid for two years from the date of issuance unless suspended or revoked. A smoking bar must submit a Smoking Bar Quarterly Declaration (Form SBQD) to demonstrate that revenue generated from the sale of tobacco products are equal to or greater than 51% of the total combined revenue generated by the sale of tobacco products, food, and beverages.


Localities may require additional business licenses.

How to Apply Online for a Tobacco Retailer License


Form CT-RL: Application for Tobacco Retailer License (October 1, 2014 – September 30, 2016)


Form CT-CDL: Application for Distributor License for Cigars and Smoking Tobacco (Oct. 1, 2014 – Sept. 30, 2015)


Form CTS-8C: Untaxed Cigarette, Smokeless Tobacco, Cigar, and Smoking Tobacco Return


Form Cigar-2: Cigar and Smoking Tobacco Excise Return (for transactions occurring after Sept. 30, 2013)


Form SBP: Application for Smoking Bar Permit


Form SBQD: Smoking Bar Quarterly Declaration

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