A N A C T
RELATING TO TAXATION -- CIGARETTE TAX
Introduced By: Senators Irons, Perry, Sosnowski, Izzo and Walaska
It is enacted by the General Assembly as follows:
SECTION 1. Chapter 44-20 of the General Laws entitled "Cigarette Tax" is hereby amended by adding thereto the following section:
44-20-12.2. Prohibited acts -- Penalty. -- (a) No person or other legal entity shall sell or distribute in the state, acquire, hold, own, possess or transport for sale or distribution in this state, or import or cause to be imported into the state for sale or distribution in this state nor shall tax stamps be affixed to any cigarette package: (1) that bears any label or notice prescribed by the United States department of treasury to identify cigarettes exempt from tax by the United States pursuant to section 5704(b) of title 26 of the United States Code (concerning cigarettes intended for shipment to a foreign country, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, or a possession of the United States), or for consumption beyond the jurisdiction of the internal revenue laws of the United States, including any notice or label described in section 290.185 of title 27 of the United States Code of Federal Regulations; or
(2) that is not labeled in conformity with the provisions of the federal cigarette labeling and advertising act, or any other federal requirement for the placement of labels, warnings and other information, applicable to cigarette packages intended for domestic consumption; or
(3) the packaging of which has been modified or altered by a person other than the original manufacturer of the cigarettes, including by the placement of a sticker to cover information on the package. For purposes of this subsection, a cigarette package shall not be construed to have been modified or altered by a person other than the manufacturer if the most recent modification to, or alteration of, the package was by the manufacturer or by a person authorized by the manufacturer; or
(4) imported into the United States in violation of 26 U.S.C. 5754 or any other federal law, or implementing federal regulations; or
(5) that such person otherwise knows or has reason to know the manufacturer did not intend to be sold, distributed, or used in the United States; or
(6) that has not been submitted to the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services the list or lists of the ingredients added to tobacco in the manufacture of such cigarettes required by the Federal Cigarette Labeling and Advertising Act, 15 U.S.C. 1335a.
(b) The tax administrator is authorized to obtain and exchange information with the United States Custom Service for the purpose of enforcing this act.
(c) Any person who affixes or distributes a tax stamp in violation of this section shall be fined not more than five hundred dollars ($500) for the first offense, and for each subsequent offense, shall be fined not more than one thousand dollars ($1,000) or be imprisoned not more than one (1) year or be both fined and imprisoned.
(d) Any cigarettes found in violation of this section shall be declared to be contraband goods and may be seized by the tax administrator or his or her agents, by any sheriff or his or her deputy or any police officer without a warrant. The tax administrator shall promulgate rules and regulations for the destruction of contraband goods pursuant to this section.
(e) The prohibitions of this section do not apply to:
(1) Tobacco products that are allowed to be imported or brought into the United States free of tax and duty under subsection IV of chapter 98 of the harmonized tariff schedule of the United States; or
(2) Tobacco products in excess of the amounts described in paragraph (1) if such excess amounts are voluntarily abandoned to the tax administrator at the time of entry, but only if such tobacco products were imported or brought into the United States for personal use and not with intent to defraud the United States or any state.
(f) If any part or provision of this section, or the application thereof to any person or circumstance is held invalid, the remainder of the section, including the application of that part or provision to other persons or circumstances, shall not be affected thereby and shall continue in full force and effect. To this end, the provisions of this section are severable.
SECTION 2. This act shall take effect upon passage.