Cuomo Announces New Cigarette Tax Enforcement

July 15, 2011 Updated Jul 15, 2011 at 2:54 PM EDT

By WKBW News


Cuomo Announces New Cigarette Tax Enforcement

July 15, 2011 Updated Jul 15, 2011 at 2:54 PM EDT

Albany, NY (July 15, 2011- release) Governor Andrew M. Cuomo Friday directed Lieutenant Governor Robert J. Duffy, Director of State Operations Howard Glaser, and New York State Department of Taxation and Finance Commissioner Thomas H. Mattox to update New Yorkers on the Administration's efforts to enforce the state's cigarette tax.

As a result of efforts by the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance, State Police, and federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, in the past three weeks the state has:

Conducted 357 retail inspections
Increased cigarette tax stamps 14 percent from May to June
Seized 19,744 cartons of cigarettes
Seized 24,882 cigars
Seized 33.75 pounds of tobacco
The estimated tax value of property seized is approximately $1.2 million. If the cigarettes were sold in New York City, approximately $289,000 in additional taxes would have been evaded. New York collects approximately $1.7 billion in total cigarette and tobacco taxes and the new enforcement efforts are expected to raise an additional $27 million in tax revenue.

"It has been our consistent position that cigarettes should be taxed under the law and the courts have repeatedly agreed," Governor Cuomo said. "The law is the law and we will enforce it. Everyone must pay their fair share, and that includes those who sell cigarettes."

Lieutenant Governor Robert J. Duffy said, "It is clear the state has both a right and an obligation to collect taxes on cigarettes wherever they are sold in New York. Collecting these taxes levels the playing field for businesses and ensures everybody pays their fair share. This effort is another example of Governor Cuomo's ability to resolve some of the state's most contentious and longstanding issues and deliver results for the people."

Director of State Operations Howard Glaser said, "The Taxation and Finance Department and the State Police moved swiftly and effectively to mount this enforcement action as soon as it became clear that these taxes could and should be collected. We have seen early increases in the sale of cigarette stamps, we believe, as a result of the enforcement effort. We intend to enforce the law to its fullest, and we expect to see collections continue to increase."

Department of Taxation and Finance Commissioner Thomas Mattox said, "The results of these enforcement efforts send a strong message that all New Yorkers will pay their fair share of taxes. I commend the tax enforcement units for their swift and direct action to ensure that New York receives every penny in tax revenue that it is owed. In difficult fiscal times, these enforcement actions will result in millions of dollars in state revenue which will benefit all New Yorkers."

The Department of Taxation and Finance and the Division of State Police today signed a Memorandum of Understanding to ensure continued close coordination between the State Police and Tax Department investigators in enforcing cigarette tax statutes and seizing cigarettes being brought to market without taxes paid.

The Department of Taxation and Finance's enforcement initiative includes:

Inspecting stamping agent facilities to verify inventories and insure compliance with state law;
Gathering information as to who is delivering and picking up untaxed cigarettes;
Inspecting stamping agents' delivery vehicles to insure that they are only transporting stamped product;
Stopping certain vehicles when there is probable cause to believe that they are being used to transport untaxed product in violation of state law;
Working to develop information on the movement of large shipments of untaxed product
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