State & Local Tax Blog

The Long Arm of the Cigarette Tax Law in Montana

This Montana cigarette tax case (Vanderbyl v. Department of Revenue, Montana State Tax Appeal Board, No. MT-2007-66, October 15, 2007) is an interesting case because you don’t often see a state go after individual purchasers who buy taxable stuff over the Internet. I’m sure that in the not-too-distant future, they will start to do so, because they can mine a lot of information from the Internet itself. There’ll be no need to have the SSTP probably. They’ll be collecting more tax than ever. Just my humble prediction.

In this case, Tobacco taxes were held to be due on cigarettes purchased from an out-of-state distributor and shipped to taxpayers residing in Montana. The taxpayers argued that the distributor used deceptive business practices by not providing information regarding the taxpayers’ responsibility to pay state tobacco taxes. They also claimed that a portion of the cigarettes were purchased by friends and family to save on shipping. However, the taxpayers were ultimately responsible for paying the tax, regardless of whether the distributor used deceptive business practices. Also, the taxpayers failed to provide any information related to purchases made by friends and family, so the taxpayers were deemed the ultimate consumers of the cigarettes. (summary by CCH)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

What You Should Do Next

Have a state or local tax issue or question? Need help? Want peace of mind? We can help! Sign up for a free "What's Next" call and let us get to work for you.