Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 58.1. Taxation
Chapter 10. Cigarette Tax

§ 58.1-1021.04:1. Distributor's or remote retail seller's license; penalty.

A. No person shall engage in the business of selling or dealing in tobacco products as a distributor in the Commonwealth without first having received a separate license from the Department for each location or place of business. Each application for a distributor's license shall be accompanied by a fee to be prescribed by the Department. Every application for such license shall be made on a form prescribed by the Department and the following information shall be provided on the application:

1. The name and address of the applicant. If the applicant is a firm, partnership or association, the name and address of each of its members shall be provided. If the applicant is a corporation, the name and address of each of its principal officers shall be provided;

2. The address of the applicant's principal place of business;

3. The place or places where the business to be licensed is to be conducted; and

4. Such other information as the Department may require for the purpose of the administration of this article.

B. A person outside the Commonwealth who ships or transports tobacco products to retailers in the Commonwealth, to be sold by those retailers, may make application for license as a distributor, be granted such a license by the Department, and thereafter be subject to all the provisions of this article. Once a license is granted pursuant to this section, such person shall be entitled to act as a licensed distributor and, unless such person maintains a registered agent pursuant to Chapter 9, 10, 12 or 14 of Title 13.1 or Chapter 2.1 or 2.2 of Title 50, shall be deemed to have appointed the Clerk of the State Corporation Commission as the person's agent for the purpose of service of process relating to any matter or issue involving the person and arising under the provisions of this article.

The Department shall conduct a background investigation, to include a Virginia Criminal History Records search, and fingerprints of the applicant, or the responsible principals, managers, and other persons engaged in handling tobacco products at the licensable locations, that shall be submitted to the Federal Bureau of Investigation if the Department deems a National Criminal Records search necessary, on applicants for licensure as tobacco products distributors. The Department may refuse to issue a distributor's license or may suspend, revoke or refuse to renew a distributor's license issued to any person, partnership, corporation, limited liability company or business trust, if it determines that the principals, managers, and other persons engaged in handling tobacco products at the licensable location of the applicant have been (i) found guilty of any fraud or misrepresentation in any connection; (ii) convicted of robbery, extortion, burglary, larceny, embezzlement, fraudulent conversion, gambling, perjury, bribery, treason, or racketeering; or (iii) convicted of a felony. Anyone who knowingly and willfully falsifies, conceals or misrepresents a material fact or knowingly and willfully makes a false, fictitious or fraudulent statement or representation in any application for a distributor's license to the Department, shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. The Department may establish an application or renewal fee not to exceed $750 to be retained by the Department to be applied to the administrative and other costs of processing distributor's license applications, conducting background investigations and issuing distributor's licenses. Any amount collected pursuant to this section in excess of such costs as of June 30 in even numbered years shall be reported to the State Treasurer and deposited into the state treasury.

C. No person inside or outside the Commonwealth shall make a remote retail sale of cigars or pipe tobacco to consumers in the Commonwealth without (i) completing an application for and being granted a license as a remote retail seller; (ii) determining whether economic nexus activity thresholds have been met to register for a dealer's certificate under § 58.1-613; (iii) if economic nexus thresholds are met, collecting and remitting the excise tax pursuant to subsection A of § 58.1-1021.02; (iv) providing for age verification through an independent, third-party age verification service that compares information available from a commercially available database, or aggregate of databases, that is regularly used by government agencies and businesses for the purpose of age and identity verification to the personal information entered by the individual during the ordering process that establishes that the individual is of age; and (v) if economic nexus thresholds are met, and excise tax is being remitted using the actual cost list method to calculate the excise tax, providing the remote retail seller's certified actual cost list to the Department for each SKU to be offered for remote retail sale in the subsequent calendar year. The actual cost list shall be updated quarterly as new SKUs are added to a remote retail seller's inventory. New SKUs will be added using the actual cost first paid for the SKU.

D. Upon receipt of an application in proper form and payment of the required license fee, the Department shall, unless otherwise provided by this article, issue to the applicant a license, which shall permit the licensee to engage in business as a distributor at the place of business shown on the license. Each license, or a copy thereof, shall be prominently displayed on the premises covered by the license. No license shall be transferable to any other person. Distributor's licenses issued pursuant to this section shall be valid for a period of three years from the date of issue unless revoked by the Department in the manner provided herein. The Department may at any time revoke the license issued to any distributor who is found guilty of violating or noncompliance with any of the provisions of this chapter, or any of the rules of the Department adopted and promulgated under authority of this chapter.

E. The Department shall compile and maintain a current list of licensed distributors and remote retail sellers. The list shall be updated on a monthly basis, and published on the Department's official Internet website, available to any interested party.

2005, c. 71; 2022, cc. 738, 779.

The chapters of the acts of assembly referenced in the historical citation at the end of this section may not constitute a comprehensive list of such chapters and may exclude chapters whose provisions have expired.