DRS: SN 96(12), 1996 Legislative Changes Affecting the Cigarette Tax

 

STATE OF CONNECTICUT
DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE SERVICES

450 Columbus Blvd
Hartford CT 06103
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
 

SN 96(12)

1996 Legislative Changes Affecting the Cigarette Tax


PURPOSE: The purpose of this Special Notice is to describe the changes that were made during the 1996 session of the Connecticut General Assembly affecting the cigarette tax; cigarette dealers and distributors who are licensed by the Department of Revenue Services under chapter 214 of the Connecticut General Statutes; and tobacco products distributors who are licensed by the Department of Revenue Services under chapter 214a of the Connecticut General Statutes.


STATUTORY AUTHORITY: Conn. Gen. Stat. 12-286a, as amended by 1996 Conn. Pub. Acts 240, 2; Conn. Gen. Stat. 12-289a, as amended by 1996 Conn. Pub. Acts 240, 3; Conn. Gen. Stat. 53-344, as amended by 1996 Conn. Pub. Acts 240, 8; 1996 Conn. Pub. Acts 240, 6.


EFFECTIVE DATE: Effective as noted herein.


NOTICE OF RESTRICTION ON SALE OF CIGARETTES AND TOBACCO PRODUCTS: Conn. Gen. Stat. 12-286a previously required each licensed cigarette distributor and each licensed cigarette dealer to post a notice, at each point of sale of cigarettes to consumers (including cigarette vending machines), stating that (1) the sale, giving or delivering of tobacco products, including cigarettes, to any person under 18 years of age was prohibited by Conn. Gen. Stat. 53-344, and (2) the purchase or misrepresentation of age by a person under 18 years of age to purchase cigarettes or tobacco products was prohibited by Conn. Gen. Stat. 53-344. As amended by 1996 Conn. Pub. Acts 240, 2, Conn. Gen. Stat. 12-286a now requires that the notice also state the fines that may be imposed for violations of Conn. Gen. Stat. 53-344 and extends the notice posting requirement to restricted cigarette vending machines and to licensed tobacco products distributors. (For a description of the fines that may be imposed for violations of Conn. Gen. Stat. 53-344, see "Fine under Conn. Gen. Stat. 53-344 Increased for Selling, Giving or Delivering Tobacco Products to a Minor," below.)


PLACEMENT RESTRICTIONS: Conn. Gen. Stat. 12-289a previously prohibited the placement of a cigarette vending machine in an area, facility or business frequented primarily by minors, and permitted the placement of a cigarette vending machine in an area, facility or business frequented by persons of all ages if (1) the use of the machine was in plain view and under the direct supervision of an adult employee of the area, facility or business, or (2) the use of the machine was in a separate area accessible only to adults, if the area, facility or business had such a separate area. As amended by 1996 Conn. Pub. Acts 240, 3, Conn. Gen. Stat. 12-289a now expands the prohibition against the placement of a cigarette vending machine in an area, facility or business frequented primarily by minors to encompass restricted vending machines. As amended by 1996 Conn. Pub. Acts 240, 3, Conn. Gen. Stat. 12-289a permits the placement of cigarette vending machines and restricted vending machines only as described below and prohibits any placement of cigarette vending machines and restricted vending machines other than as described below.


RESTRICTED CIGARETTE VENDING MACHINES:

On or after June 6, 1996, a restricted cigarette vending machine may be placed anywhere other than in an area, facility or business frequented primarily by minors.

CIGARETTE VENDING MACHINES:

On or after June 6, 1996 until May 1, 1997:

  • A cigarette vending machine may be placed in an area, facility or business frequented by persons of all ages (without a separate area accessible only to adults) as long as the cigarette vending machine (1) is not placed in a vestibule, lobby, entryway, exit or restroom and (2) is under the direct supervision of, and in the direct line of sight of, an adult employee of the area, facility or business.
  • A cigarette vending machine may also be placed in a separate area, accessible only to adults, of an area, facility or business frequented by persons of all ages.
  • A cigarette vending machine may also be placed in any area, facility or business where a cigarette vending machine may be lawfully placed on or after May 1, 1997 (as described below).

On or after May 1, 1997 until July 1, 1998:

  • A cigarette vending machine may be placed in an area, facility or business (without a separate area accessible only to adults) for which a permit under the Liquor Control Act; Conn. Gen. Stat. 30-1 et seq.; has been issued as long as the cigarette vending machine (1) is not placed in a vestibule, lobby, entryway, exit or restroom, and (2) is under the direct supervision of, and in the direct line of sight of, an adult employee of the permittee.
  • A cigarette vending machine may also be placed in any area, facility or business where a cigarette vending machine may be lawfully placed on or after July 1, 1998 (as described below).

On or after July 1, 1998:

  • A cigarette vending machine may be placed in an area, facility or business accessible only to adults.
  • A cigarette vending machine may also be placed in a separate area, accessible only to adults, of an area, facility or business for which a permit under the Liquor Control Act; Conn. Gen. Stat. 30-1 et seq.; has been issued.

PENALTIES FOR VIOLATION OF PLACEMENT RESTRICTIONS: Previously, if the Commissioner of Revenue Services found that a licensed cigarette distributor or licensed cigarette dealer had placed a cigarette vending machine in an area, facility or business not permitted by Conn. Gen. Stat. 12-289a, the Commissioner's sole remedy was to suspend or revoke the license of the distributor or dealer. As amended by 1996 Conn. Pub. Acts 240, 3, Conn. Gen. Stat. 12-289a now authorizes the Commissioner of Revenue Services, in addition to suspending or revoking the license of a cigarette dealer or cigarette distributor, to impose a civil penalty on any person, dealer or distributor who violates the restrictions on placement of cigarette vending machines or restricted cigarette vending machines. The penalty for a first offense within an 18-month period is $250. The penalty for a second offense within the same 18-month period is $500. The penalty for a third violation within the same 18-month period is $500, the immediate removal of the machine from the area, facility or business and a proscription against the placement of a cigarette vending machine or restricted cigarette vending machine in such area, facility or business for the one-year period following such removal.


RESTRICTIONS ON AREAS IN WHICH SAMPLE CIGARETTES OR TOBACCO PRODUCTS MAY BE GIVEN AWAY: Conn. Gen. Stat. 12-314 previously empowered the Commissioner of Revenue Services to authorize the giving away of sample packages of cigarettes by a licensed cigarette distributor. While that provision was repealed by 1996 Conn. Pub. Acts 240, 4, the Commissioner is empowered, under 1996 Conn. Pub. Acts 240, 5, to authorize the giving away of cigarettes or tobacco products, as defined in Conn. Gen. Stat. 12-330a, by a licensed cigarette distributor or a licensed cigarette dealer or a licensed tobacco products distributor. However, the distribution of those cigarettes or tobacco products may only occur (1) on the premises of a licensed dealer or (2) if distributed at any event or establishment (other than the premises of a licensed dealer) with a separate area accessible only to adults, in such separate area.


DEPARTMENT MAY NOW ASSESS CIVIL PENALTIES: Previously, if the Commissioner of Revenue Services found that a licensed cigarette distributor or licensed cigarette dealer had sold or delivered tobacco in any form to a person under 18 years of age, the Commissioner's sole remedy was to suspend or revoke the license of the distributor or dealer. Also, the Commissioner could not penalize a person under 18 years of age who purchased cigarettes or tobacco products. Effective July 1, 1996, the Commissioner may, in addition to suspending or revoking the license of a cigarette distributor or cigarette dealer, assess civil penalties, under 1996 Conn. Pub. Acts 240, 6, against:

  • a person under 18 years of age who purchased cigarettes or tobacco products. The penalty for a first violation is $50. The penalty for any subsequent violation is $100.
  • an employee of a licensed cigarette dealer or an employee of a licensed cigarette distributor or an employee of a licensed tobacco products distributor who sold, gave away or delivered cigarettes or tobacco products to a minor (other than a minor who accepted delivery in his capacity as an employee). The penalty for a first violation within an 18-month period is $100. The penalty for any subsequent violation within the same 18-month period is $150.
  • a licensed cigarette dealer or licensed cigarette distributor or a licensed tobacco products distributor who sold, gave away or delivered (including any selling, giving or delivering by an employee of such dealer or distributor) cigarettes or tobacco products to a minor (other than a minor who accepted delivery in his capacity as an employee). The penalty for a first violation within an 18-month period is $250. The penalty for a second violation within the same 18-month period is $500. The penalty for a third violation within the same 18-month period is $500, and a license suspension for not less than 30 days.
  • the owner of an establishment in which a cigarette vending machine or restricted cigarette vending machine is placed who sold, gave away or delivered cigarettes or tobacco products (or allowed cigarettes or tobacco products to be sold, given or delivered) to a minor (other than a minor who accepted delivery in his capacity as an employee). The penalty for a first violation within an 18-month period is $250. The penalty for a second violation within the same 18-month period is $500. The penalty for a third violation within the same 18-month period is $500, the immediate removal of the machine from the area, facility or business, and a proscription against placement of a cigarette vending machine or restricted cigarette vending machine in such establishment for the one-year period following such removal.

FINE UNDER CONN. GEN. STAT. 53-344 INCREASED FOR SELLING, GIVING OR DELIVERING TOBACCO PRODUCTS TO A MINOR:  Previously, the fine for selling, giving or delivering of tobacco in any form to any person under 18 years of age violating Conn. Gen. Stat. 53-344 was not more than $50 for the first offense, and not less than $50 nor more than $100 for any subsequent offense. The fine has now been increased so that the fine for a first violation within an 18-month period is not more than $200, the fine for a second violation within the same 18-month period is not more than $350, and the fine for any subsequent violation within the same 18-month period is not more $500. Conn. Gen. Stat. 53-344 also previously prohibited the selling, giving or delivering of tobacco in any form to any person under 18 years of age. As amended by 1996 Conn. Pub. Acts 240, 8, Conn. Gen. Stat. 53-344 now prohibits the selling, giving or delivering of tobacco in any form to a person under 18 years of age unless such person is delivering or accepting delivery of tobacco in any form in his or her capacity as an employee.


RESTRICTED CIGARETTE VENDING MACHINE: Conn. Gen. Stat. 12-285, as amended by 1996 Conn. Pub. Acts 240, 1, defines "restricted cigarette vending machine" as "a machine used for the dispensing of package cigarettes which automatically deactivates after each individual sale, cannot be left operable after a sale and requires, prior to each individual sale, a face-to-face interaction or display of identification between an employee of the area, facility or business where such machine is located and the purchaser." As amended by 1996 Conn. Pub. Acts 240, 1, Conn. Gen. Stat. 12-285 excludes from the definition of "cigarette vending machine" any restricted cigarette vending machine. Therefore, wherever this Special Notice refers to a cigarette vending machine, such reference does not include a restricted cigarette vending machine, and wherever this Special Notice refers to a restricted cigarette vending machine, such reference does not include a cigarette vending machine.


EFFECT ON OTHER DOCUMENTS: None affected.


EFFECT OF THIS DOCUMENT: A Special Notice is a document that announces a new policy or practice in response to changes in State or federal laws or regulations or to judicial decisions. A Special Notice indicates the Department's informal interpretation of Connecticut tax law and may be referred to for general guidance by taxpayers or tax practitioners.


PLEASE NOTE THE FOLLOWING NEW INFORMATION ABOUT DRS.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION: To order forms and publications or for further information, call the Department of Revenue Services at 860-297-5962 (Hartford area or out-of-state) or 1-800-382-9463 (in-state). Forms and publications may be ordered through voice-mail 24-hours a day by choosing Option 3 on your touch tone telephone.

Electronic Delivery Options: You can also obtain tax forms and publications 24-hours a day from our Web home page at http://www.ct.gov/drs. Telecommunications Device for the Deaf (TDD/TT) users only call 860-297-4911 during business hours.


SN 96(12)
Cigarette tax
Issued: 8/1/96