Department of revenue: tobacco taxes facts about oregon's cigarette tax

Q. How can I learn about smokeless tobacco products weight based tax changes?
A. Learn more by reading our FAQ on Oregon’s moist snuff weight based tax.

Q. How can I find out other state excise tax rates on cigarettes?
A. Click here to view the Federation of Tax Administrators list of cigarette tax rates for all states.

Q. Is buying on the internet or mail order merchant illegal?
A. Buying cigarettes over the internet or by mail order is not illegal. However, it is illegal to be in possession of untaxed cigarettes in Oregon. All cigarettes, regardless of how or where they are purchased, must have the tax paid. The consumer is ultimately responsible for the tax. Look on the bottom of each pack. If there is a small Oregon stamp, Oregon tax has been paid. If there is no stamp, then the cigarettes are “illegal” because they have not been taxed. If the stamp on the bottom of the pack does not have “Oregon” on it, then the tax has been paid to another state and is considered unstamped for purposes of taxation in Oregon.

Q. What is a cigarette tax stamp?
A. The stamp is wax. Each pack must have a stamp. Each state uses its own tax stamp design. Colors and markings on each state’s stamps are different.

Q. Why does each pack have to have one?
A. Each pack must have an Oregon stamp because the stamps show that the tax for each pack of cigarettes has been paid.

Q. How do the stamps get on the package?
A. Oregon licensed distributors purchase stamps from the Department of Revenue. A machine heats the stamps, and sticks them to the packs. The machine opens the cartons, applies the stamp, then reseals the cartons.

Q. What is illegal about internet cigarette sales?
A. Most internet sites do not comply with Oregon statute (ORS 323.700 323.730) regarding tobacco sales. This law requires all remote sellers of cigarettes or other tobacco products to

  1. Verify the age of the purchaser
  2. Be a licensed distributor
  3. Report sales to the Oregon Department of Revenue and
  4. Show proof of tax paid.

Q. What if I buy my cigarettes in another state and bring them into Oregon?

A. Oregon law will allow you to bring up to 199 cigarettes into the state without requiring them to be taxed by Oregon. However, Oregon will tax ALL cigarettes you bring into the state if you bring more than 199. For example, if you bring one full carton of cigarettes (200 cigarettes) and one carton with 199 cigarettes into Oregon, you would need to pay the tax on 399 cigarettes to the Department of Revenue.

Q. How will the department find consumers who buy their cigarettes over the internet?
A. There is a federal law called the Jenkins Act that requires all interstate sales of cigarettes to be reported to the Department of Revenue of the state to which the product has been shipped. Under the Jenkins Act, internet retailers report the names and addresses of each person buying cigarettes from that retailer. We also have discovered names and addresses of internet purchasers during investigations done by Oregon’s Tobacco Tax Program.
Q. How do I pay my cigarette taxes?
A. Taxes are due by the 20th of the month after you receive your cigarettes. Use Form 514 to report the tax due.

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