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Letters Are in the Mail; Taxes Due on Internet Cigarette Purchases
Oklahomans are finding that purchasing cigarettes online comes with a price as Tax Commission officials are now notifying purchasers of taxes that are due.
Some Oklahomans will have found this out the hard way after receiving assessment letters in the mail for internet cigarette purchases. The letters not only inform the taxpayer of taxes due, but also of any penalties and/or interest that is accruing.
“We want Oklahomans to be aware that purchasing cigarettes online, and not paying the taxes on them, is illegal and there are consequences,” said Paula Ross, Oklahoma Tax Commission spokesperson. “At this time we are sending out approximately 1,000 letters to Oklahomans who have made purchases online but not paid the taxes due.”
According to Oklahoma law individuals cannot buy untaxed cigarettes in quantities of more than 40 cigarettes, the equivalent of two packs. A person purchasing more than 40 untaxed cigarettes should actually have a cigarette license, buy tax stamps, and file monthly tax reports. The reality though is that most taxpayers that purchase cigarettes online are not doing this.
“In the past we have sent taxpayer’s letters informing them of the taxes that they owe due to purchasing without paying taxes,” said Ross. “This is something that we are now starting to see many states doing, including New York, Michigan and Illinois.”
In case you’re wondering how the Tax Commission knows if you’re ordering cigarettes online the Federal Jenkins Act requires anyone who sells cigarettes into any state, to report those sales to each state monthly. As sellers report the information to the Tax Commission the agency in turn notifies taxpayers of any taxes that are due on cigarette sales.
“We want to take the opportunity to get the word out to taxpayers that although they may think they are getting a better deal on cigarettes by purchasing online, they can not avoid the taxes that are due,” Ross stated.
If taxpayers have questions on internet cigarette tax purchases they should contact the Taxpayer Assistance Division at 405.521.3160 or toll-free at 1.800.522.8165. Information and reporting forms can also be found on the agency website at www.tax.ok.gov.