Code of Virginia

Creating a Report: Check the sections you'd like to appear in the report, then use the "Create Report" button at the bottom of the page to generate your report. Once the report is generated you'll then have the option to download it as a pdf, print or email the report.

Code of Virginia
Title 58.1. Taxation
Chapter 38. Miscellaneous Taxes

Article 7. Cigarette Tax.

§ 58.1-3830. Local cigarette taxes authorized; use of dual die or stamp to evidence payment.

A. Any locality is authorized to levy taxes upon the sale or use of cigarettes. The governing body of any locality that levies a cigarette tax and permits the use of meter impressions or stamps to evidence its payment may authorize an officer of the local or joint enforcement authority to enter into an arrangement with the Department of Taxation under which a tobacco wholesaler who so desires may use a dual die or stamp to evidence the payment of both the local tax and the state tax, and the Department is hereby authorized to enter into such an arrangement. The procedure under such an arrangement shall be such as may be agreed upon by and between the authorized local or joint enforcement authority officer and the Department.

B. Any county cigarette tax imposed shall not apply within the limits of any town located in such county where such town now, or hereafter, imposes a town cigarette tax. However, if the governing body of any such town shall provide that a county cigarette tax, as well as the town cigarette tax, shall apply within the limits of such town, then such cigarette tax may be imposed by the county within such town.

C. The maximum tax rate imposed by a locality on cigarettes pursuant to the provisions of this section shall be as follows:

1. If such locality is (i) a city or town that, on January 1, 2020, had in effect a rate not exceeding two cents ($0.02) per cigarette sold or (ii) a county, then the maximum rate shall be two cents ($0.02) per cigarette sold.

2. If such locality is a city or town that, on January 1, 2020, had in effect a rate exceeding two cents ($0.02) per cigarette sold, then the maximum rate shall be the rate in effect on January 1, 2020.

D. Any locality that increases its tax rate shall, for one calendar year after the increase, allow a person with unsold inventory to pay the tax increase on the unsold inventory by filing a return, rather than requiring the use of a stamp or meter impression. Such return shall identify the amount of unsold inventory, the amount of tax paid on such unsold inventory, and the amount of tax due as a result of the tax rate increase. Such return shall be due six calendar months after the effective date of the tax rate increase. For purposes of this subsection, "unsold inventory" means cigarettes held prior to the tax rate increase.

Code 1950, § 58-757.27; 1960, c. 392, § 27; 1962, c. 473; 1977, c. 595; 1984, c. 675; 2020, cc. 1214, 1263; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 61; 2022, cc. 223, 224.

§ 58.1-3831. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 2020, cc. 1214 and 1263, cl. 2, effective July 1, 2021.

§ 58.1-3832. Local ordinances to administer and enforce local taxes on sale or use of cigarettes.

Any county, city or town having a tax upon the sale or use of cigarettes may by ordinance, provide for the administration and enforcement of any such cigarette tax. Such local ordinance may:

1. Provide for the registration of any distributor, wholesaler, vendor, retailer or other person selling, storing or possessing cigarettes within or transporting cigarettes within or into such taxing jurisdiction for sale or use. Such registration may be conditioned upon the filing of a bond with a surety company authorized to do business in Virginia as surety, which bond shall not exceed one and one-half times the average monthly liability of such taxpayer. The county, city or town may revoke registration if such bond is impaired, but for no other reason. Any such distributor, wholesaler, retailer or other person whose business and residence is outside the taxing jurisdiction, who shall sell, store or possess in the taxing jurisdiction therein any cigarettes shall, by virtue of such sale, storage or possession submit himself to its legal jurisdiction and appoint as his attorney for any service of lawful process such officer or person as may be designated in the local ordinance for that purpose. A copy of any such process served on the said officer or person shall be sent forthwith by registered mail to the distributor, wholesaler or retailer.

2. Provide for the use of a tax stamp or meter impression as evidence of payment of the tax or other method or system of reporting payment and collection of such tax. Any local tax stamp or meter impression required to be used to evidence payment of the tax shall be of the same stamp technology that is used or required by the Commonwealth for the state cigarette tax stamp pursuant to Chapter 10 (§ 58.1-1000 et seq.). The purchase price of any tax stamps purchased under this section shall be refunded, without penalties or additional fees, upon verification by the county, city, or town imposing the tax that the stamps have been returned to such county, city, or town.

3. Provide that tobacco products found in quantities of more than six cartons within the taxing jurisdiction shall be conclusively presumed for sale or use within the jurisdiction and may be seized and confiscated if:

a. They are in transit, and are not accompanied by a bill of lading or other document indicating the true name and address of the consignor or seller and of the consignee or purchaser, and the brands and quantity of cigarettes so transported, or are in transit and accompanied by a bill of lading or other document which is false or fraudulent, in whole or in part; or

b. They are in transit and are accompanied by a bill of lading or other document indicating:

(1) A consignee or purchaser in another state or the District of Columbia who is not authorized by the law of such other jurisdiction to receive or possess such tobacco products on which the taxes imposed by such other jurisdiction have not been paid, unless the tax of the state or District of destination has been paid and the said products bear the tax stamps of that state or District; or

(2) A consignee or purchaser in the Commonwealth of Virginia but outside the taxing jurisdiction who does not possess a Virginia sales and use tax certificate, a Virginia retail cigarette license and, where applicable, both a business license and retail cigarette license issued by the local jurisdiction of destination; or

c. They are not in transit and the tax has not been paid, nor have approved arrangements for payment been made, provided that this subparagraph shall not apply to cigarettes in the possession of distributors or public warehouses which have filed notice and appropriate proof with the taxing jurisdiction that those cigarettes are temporarily within the taxing jurisdiction and will be sent to consignees or purchasers outside the jurisdiction in the normal course of business.

4. Provide that cigarettes and other property, other than motor vehicles, used in the furtherance of any illegal evasion of the tax so seized and confiscated may be disposed of by sale or other method deemed appropriate by the local taxing authority. No credit from any sale or other disposition shall be allowed toward any tax or penalties owed.

5. Provide that persons violating any provision thereof shall be deemed guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor, and require the payment of penalties for late payment not to exceed 10 percent per month, penalties for fraud or evasion of the tax not to exceed 50 percent, and interest not to exceed three quarters of one percent per month, upon any tax found to be overdue and unpaid. The mere possession of untaxed cigarettes in quantities of not more than six cartons shall not be a violation of any such ordinance.

6. Provide for the forfeiture and sale of any property seized; provided, however, that proper notice of such seizure shall be given to the known holders of property interests in such property and shall include procedures for administrative appeal as well as affirmative defenses which may be asserted by such holders which procedures must be set forth in reasonable detail.

7. Provide that any coin-operated vending machine, in which any cigarettes are found, stored or possessed bearing a counterfeit or bogus cigarette tax stamp or impression or any unstamped tobacco products, or any cigarettes upon which the tax has not been paid, may be declared contraband property and shall be subject to confiscation and sale as provided in subsection 6. When any such vending machine is found containing such cigarettes it shall be presumed that such cigarettes were intended for distribution, sale or use therefrom. In lieu of immediate seizure and confiscation of any vending machines used in an illegal evasion of the tax it may be sealed by appropriate enforcement authorities to prevent continued illegal sale or removal of any cigarettes, and may be left unmoved until other civil and criminal penalties are imposed or waived. Notice requirements shall be the same as if the machine had been seized. Such seal may be removed and the machine declared eligible for operation only by authorized enforcement authorities. Nothing in this section shall prevent seizure and confiscation of a vending machine at any time after it is sealed.

8. Provide that any counterfeit stamps or counterfeit impression devices may also be seized and confiscated.

9. Any county, city or town may enact an ordinance which would delegate its administrative and enforcement authority under its cigarette tax ordinance to one agency or authority pursuant to the provisions of § 15.2-1300. Such agency or authority may promulgate rules and regulations governing the display of cigarette stamps in vending machines, tax liens against property of taxpayers hereunder, extend varying discount rates and establish different classes of taxpayers or those required to collect and remit the tax, requirements concerning keeping and production of records, administrative and jeopardy assessment of tax where reasonably justified, required notice to authorities of sale of taxpayer's business, audit requirements and authority, and criteria for authority of distributors and others to possess untaxed cigarettes and any other provisions consistent with the powers granted by this section or necessarily implied therefrom. Such ordinance may further provide that such agency or authority created may issue a common revenue stamp, employ legal counsel, bring appropriate court action, in its own name where necessary to enforce payment of the cigarette taxes or penalties owed any member jurisdiction and provide cigarette tax agents, and the necessary enforcement supplies and equipment needed to effectively enforce the cigarette tax ordinance promulgated by each such county, city or town. Any cigarette tax agents shall meet such requirements of training or experience as may be promulgated from time to time by the enforcement authority when performing their duties and shall be required to carry proper identification and may be armed for their own protection and for the enforcement of such ordinance. Any such agent shall have the power of arrest upon reasonable and probable cause that a violation of any tobacco tax ordinance has been committed. Any common revenue stamp issued by such agency or authority shall be of the same stamp technology that is used or required by the Commonwealth for the state cigarette tax stamp pursuant to Chapter 10 (§ 58.1-1000 et seq.).

Code 1950, § 58-757.29; 1974, c. 472; 1977, c. 595; 1984, c. 675; 2012, cc. 89, 258; 2017, c. 113.

§ 58.1-3832.1. Regional cigarette tax boards.

A. As used in this section:

"Member locality" means a locality that elects to become a member of a regional cigarette tax board and have its local cigarette tax administered by the board.

"Region" means the group of localities for which the regional cigarette tax board administers local cigarette taxes.

"Regional cigarette tax board" means a board established by a group of at least six member localities pursuant to their powers under this article, Chapter 13 (§ 15.2-1300 et seq.) of Title 15.2, and the Regional Cooperation Act (§ 15.2-4200 et seq.), with the purpose of administering local cigarette taxes on a regional basis subject to the provisions of this section.

B. A regional cigarette tax board shall have the following duties:

1. Providing for the use of a uniform meter impression or stamp as evidence of payment of any local cigarette tax within the region.

2. Entering into an arrangement, on behalf of or in cooperation with its member localities, with the Department pursuant to the provisions of subsection A of § 58.1-3830, for the use of a dual die or stamp as evidence of payment of any applicable local and state tax.

3. Providing a single point of contact for a stamping agent authorized under this article or Chapter 10 (§ 58.1-1000) to remit local cigarette taxes due to any member locality.

4. Providing a discount to a stamping agent as compensation for accounting for the tax due under this article. The discount shall be in the amount of two percent of the tax otherwise due.

5. Distributing any local cigarette taxes collected by the board to the appropriate member locality.

6. Enforcing all local cigarette tax ordinances within the region.

7. Promoting uniformity of cigarette tax ordinances among its member localities.

8. To the extent possible, encouraging uniformity of cigarette tax rates among its member localities.

9. Allowing persons with unsold inventory subject to tax increase to pay such increase by filing a return consistent with the provisions of subsection D of § 58.1-3830.

10. Accomplishing any other purpose that helps promote the uniform administration of local cigarette taxes throughout the region.

2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 61; 2022, cc. 223, 224.