Cigarette & Tobacco Products Tax – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

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About the Cigarette and Tobacco Products Tax

The cigarette and tobacco products tax is paid by a distributor upon the first distribution of cigarettes and tobacco products in California.

A distribution includes the first sale, use, or consumption of untaxed cigarettes or untaxed tobacco products in California, and the placing of untaxed cigarettes or untaxed tobacco products into a vending machine or retail stock in California (Revenue and Taxation Code section 30008).

Retail Stock includes cigarette and tobacco products that are stored in the area where retail sales are made, considered to be distributed in this state, and the excise tax is immediately due.

  • Retail stock includes cigarette and tobacco products that are stored in the area where retail sales are made and available for sale to consumers by a person who holds a Retailer's License.
  • If you hold both a California distributor's license and a retailer's license, purchase untaxed products, and only make retail sales to consumers; then all cigarette and tobacco products in your inventory are considered retail stock, distributed in this state, and the excise tax is due (regardless of where the product is placed or stored). All cigarette packs placed in retail stock must have a cigarette tax stamp affixed.
  • If you hold both a California distributor's license and a retailer's license, purchase untaxed products, and make sales to licensed distributors, wholesalers, or retailers; then the untaxed cigarette and tobacco products that are placed or stored in the area where retail sales are made are considered to be retail stock, distributed in this state, and the excise tax is due. All cigarette packs placed in retail stock must have a cigarette tax stamp affixed. However, the untaxed cigarette and tobacco products that are securely stored away from the area where retail sales are made are not considered retail stock. The untaxed products must be in the original manufacturer's packaging, with an unbroken seal, and they must be secured, segregated, and separated from your entire retail inventory, including your tax-paid products that you store or hold in areas not accessible to consumers.

    Examples of secured, segregated, and separated from retail stock include, but are not limited to, the following areas:

    • a secured store room or closet;
    • a secured back office;
    • inside a locked cabinet, safe or other similar storage container; or
    • behind a locked wire-cage door or similar encumbrance.
  • Tobacco products placed inside a walk-in humidor displayed for sale to consumers are considered retail stock. If you hold both a California distributor's license and a retailer's license, purchase untaxed tobacco products, and only make retail sales to consumers, your entire inventory is considered retail stock, whether or not the untaxed tobacco products are separately stored away. The excise tax is due immediately upon placing the untaxed tobacco products in retail stock.

    If you hold both a California distributor's license and a retailer's license and you sell to other tobacco products licensees in addition to consumers, untaxed tobacco products are not considered retail stock if the product is placed in a walk-in humidor in the original manufacturer's packaging with an unbroken seal, secured, segregated, and separated from retail stock, and not on display for sale to consumers.

    Examples of secured, segregated, separated from retail stock include, but are not limited to, the following areas:

    • inside a locked cabinet, safe, or similar secured storage container, or
    • behind a locked wire-cage door, or similar encumbrance.

See Regulation 4001, Retail Stock, for more information.

Under California law (Revenue and Taxation Code section 30003), a cigarette is defined as any rolled product for smoking that:

  • Is of any size or shape,
  • Is made wholly or in part of any tobacco that may or may not be flavored, and
  • Has a wrapper or cover made of paper or any other material.

Exception: Flavored cigarettes are banned in the United States. See the Industry Topics section for more information. Products wrapped in tobacco or with a cover made mostly of tobacco (for example, cigars) are not cigarettes when they weigh more than three pounds per thousand sticks. Instead, these products are considered tobacco products.

In November 2016, California voters approved Proposition 56, which amended the definition of "tobacco products," under the California Cigarette and Tobacco Products Tax Law (Revenue and Taxation Code § 30121 to include new tobacco products (identified as "New!" below). Beginning April 1, 2017, the distribution of these new tobacco products will be subject to the tobacco products tax. Tobacco products¹ include, but are not limited to:

  • Cigars
  • Little cigars (little cigars were previously considered cigarettes and required a cigarette tax stamp prior to the passage of Proposition 56; however, beginning April 1, 2017, little cigars will be taxed as a tobacco product) New!
  • Smoking or pipe tobacco (including shisha)
  • Chewing tobacco
  • Snuff
  • Any product containing, made of, or derived from any amount of tobacco that is intended for human consumption (prior to the passage of Proposition 56, tobacco products, other than cigars, smoking or chewing tobacco, or snuff, had to contain at least 50 percent tobacco) New!
  • Any product containing, made of, or derived from any amount of nicotine² that is intended for human consumption and sold with or without a delivery device or system. New!
  • Electronic cigarettes³ or any device or delivery system sold in combination (for a single price) with nicotine New!
  • Any component, part, or accessory of an electronic cigarette that is used during the operation of the device when sold in combination (for a single price) with nicotine (for example, a battery used in the operation of the device sold with nicotine) New!

¹ Tobacco products do not include cigarettes. Tobacco products do not include any product that has been approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration for sale as a tobacco cessation product or for other therapeutic purposes (for example, nicotine patches) where that product is marketed and sold solely for such approved use.

² Nicotine does not include any food products as defined in Revenue and Taxation Code §6359

³ Electronic cigarettes do not include any delivery devices sold without any liquid or substance containing nicotine. For example, eCigarettes or vape pens sold without nicotine are not considered tobacco products.

In November 2016, California voters approved Proposition 56, which amended the definition of "tobacco products," under the California Cigarette and Tobacco Products Tax Law (Revenue and Taxation Code § 30121) for tax purposes. In addition to the traditional tobacco products (such as cigars, smoking, chewing, or pipe tobacco, or snuff) that are subject to the tobacco products tax, the distribution of the following new tobacco products are subject to the tobacco products tax beginning April 1, 2017:

  • Little cigars (a cigarette tax stamp will no longer be required to be affixed to the package).
  • Any product containing, made of, or derived from tobacco that is intended for human consumption (previously products, other than cigars, smoking or chewing tobacco, or snuff, had to contain at least 50 percent tobacco to be subject to the tobacco products tax).
  • Any product containing, made of, or derived from nicotine that is intended for human consumption and sold with or without a nicotine delivery device.
  • Electronic cigarettes or any device or delivery system sold in combination with nicotine (examples of a device or delivery system include, but are not limited to, eCigars, ePipes, vape pens, and eHookahs).
  • Any component, part, or accessory of an electronic cigarette that is used during the operation of the device when sold in combination with nicotine (for example, a battery used in the operation of the device sold in combination with nicotine).

The following products are not subject to the tobacco products tax; however, they are still subject to cigarette and tobacco products retail licensing:

  • Vape liquids, such as eLiquid or eJuice, that do not contain nicotine or tobacco.
  • Any delivery device or system not sold in combination with any liquid or substance containing nicotine.
  • Any battery, battery charger, carrying case, or any other accessory not sold in combination with nicotine.

Tobacco products do not include products approved by the U. S. Food and Drug Administration as tobacco cessation products or other therapeutic purposes when those products are marketed and sold for such approved use (for example, nicotine patches).

The tax is assessed on each cigarette distributed in California. The tax is paid by distributors when they purchase cigarette tax stamps from the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration (CDTFA). Distributors are required to affix the cigarette tax stamp to each package of cigarettes prior to distribution.

A cigarette tax stamp indicates that the taxes have been paid. Distributors must affix a California encrypted cigarette tax stamp, which is purchased from the CDTFA, to each package of cigarettes prior to distribution. For more information about the encrypted cigarette tax stamp, refer to Publication 403, California's Counterfeit-Resistant Cigarette Tax Stamp.

The tax is imposed upon the first distribution of tobacco products based on the wholesale cost of these products at the rate determined annually. The tax is due at the time the tobacco products are first distributed in California by a licensed distributor. The tobacco products tax is based on the licensed distributor's wholesale cost. The wholesale cost is the cost of the tobacco products to the licensed distributor prior to any discounts or trade allowances. The wholesale cost is typically the list price of the tobacco products, stated on the invoice and charged by a manufacturer or importer to the licensed distributor prior to any discounts or trade allowances (see Regulation 4076) The tax rate that applies is the rate in effect at the time the tobacco product is distributed by the distributor.

"Wholesale cost" means the cost of tobacco products to the distributor prior to any discounts or trade allowances (as defined in Regulation 4076(a)(2). For finished products that are purchased by a distributor from a supplier in an arm's-length transaction (as defined in Regulation 4076 (a)(1)), the wholesale cost of the tobacco products is the amount paid for the tobacco product, including any federal excise tax, but excluding any transportation charges for the shipment of finished products originating within the United States. Discounts and trade allowances must be added back when determining wholesale cost.

If a manufacturer or importer is also the distributor, the wholesale cost of tobacco includes all manufacturing costs, the cost of raw materials (including waste materials not incorporated into the finished tobacco product) prior to any discounts or trade allowances, the cost of labor, any direct (including freight-in) and indirect overhead costs, and any federal excise and/or U.S. Customs taxes paid. Wholesale cost includes all freight or transportation charges for shipment of materials and/or unfinished product from the supplier to the manufacturer concurrently licensed as a distributor, but excludes domestic freight or transportation charges for shipment of finished tobacco products (as defined in Regulation 4076(a)(3)). In most cases, the wholesale cost will be the invoiced price of the tobacco products without any allowance for discounts. For additional information on how to calculate or estimate the wholesale cost, please refer to Regulation 4076, Wholesale Cost of Tobacco Products.

No. The Office of the Attorney General maintains and publishes the California Tobacco Directory, which lists all cigarettes and roll-your-own tobacco products that may be distributed, sold, offered for sale, or possessed for sale in California. You should always check the California Tobacco Directory for the most current list of compliant cigarettes and roll-your-own tobacco before you purchase products. You can also find the cigarettes and roll-your-own tobacco products brand families that have been removed from the California Tobacco Directory on the Office of the Attorney General's website.

Please note that it is against the law to place a California cigarette tax stamp on any cigarette package unless the manufacturer and brand family are listed in the California Tobacco Directory located on the Office of the Attorney General's website.

If you purchased more than 400 cigarettes (typically twenty (20) packs or two (2) cartons) for personal use from a business located outside of California that did not collect the California cigarette tax and use tax at the time of sale or from federal instrumentalities, and subsequently brought these products into California, you are required to pay the California state cigarette taxes and use taxes directly to the CDTFA (Revenue and Taxation Code section 30106. The CDTFA administers the Cigarette and Tobacco Products Internet Program to collect the California state cigarette and tobacco products tax and use tax from California consumers purchasing untaxed cigarettes and/or tobacco products from out-of-state internet retailers and/or by way of mail or telephone for self-consumption in California. Consumers or users will be liable for the payment of tax to the CDTFA unless receipts are obtained evidencing payment of the California cigarette and tobacco products taxes and use tax. For more information about California use tax, please visit our Use Tax Guide and our Sales and Use Tax in California page. Please note this requirement also applies to products such as electronic cigarettes, atomizers, vaping tanks or mods, and eLiquid or eJuice when sold in combination (for a single price) with nicotine.

Yes. Cigarettes and tobacco products must be destroyed in the presence of an authorized CDTFA representative. You must contact the CDTFA at 1-916-323-6361 or our Appeals and Data Analysis Branch mailbox to schedule an appointment for an authorized CDTFA representative to be present to witness the destruction of packs of cigarettes and/or tobacco products. If you destroy packs of cigarettes or tobacco products without an authorized CDTFA representative present to witness the destruction, you may be liable for any unpaid cigarette and/or tobacco products tax. It is presumed that all cigarettes or tobacco products acquired by a distributor are untaxed cigarettes or tobacco products, and that all cigarettes or tobacco products manufactured in this state or transported to this state, and no longer in the possession of the distributor, have been distributed (Revenue and Taxation Code section 30109. Destruction of product may include, but is not limited to, shredding, cutting, burning, incinerating, or depositing directly into a landfill.

Yes. Effective September 22, 2009, cigarettes that contain certain characterizing flavors are considered adulterated and the manufacture, import, and sale of these products are banned under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act as amended by the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (FSPTCA). The FSPTCA provides the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) with regulatory authority over the manufacture, marketing, and distributing of tobacco products. Specifically, section 907(a)(1)(A) established a tobacco products special rule for cigarettes that states in part: "&el cigarette or any of its component parts (including the tobacco, filter, or paper) shall not contain, as a constituent (including a smoke constituent) or additive, an artificial or natural flavor (other than tobacco or menthol) or an herb or spice, including strawberry, grape, orange, clove, cinnamon, pineapple, vanilla, coconut, licorice, cocoa, chocolate, cherry, or coffee, that is a characterizing flavor of the tobacco product or tobacco smoke." These products can no longer be manufactured, imported, or sold in the United States and could be seized by federal, state, or local law enforcement authorities.

As a reminder, please refer to the California Tobacco Directory provided by the Office of the Attorney General for a list of cigarette manufacturers and brand families that are authorized for sale in California. It is illegal for distributors to affix a California tax stamp on packages of cigarettes or pay the tax on roll-your-own product unless the manufacturer and the brand family are listed in the California Tobacco Directory.

For more information regarding the federal ban on flavored cigarettes, refer to the following publication and notice:

Publication 429, Flavored Cigarettes Banned in the United States

Special Notice: Information Regarding Federal Ban on Flavored Cigarettes

Visit the California Department of Public Health's Tobacco 21 webpage for more information about the new landmark California Tobacco 21 law.

Registration

You are required to register if you are a retailer, distributor, wholesaler, manufacturer, or importer of cigarettes or tobacco products in California. Visit our Cigarette and Tobacco Products Tax Registration Information Webpage for definitions. See Publication 93, Cigarette and Tobacco Products Taxes, for information on distributor, wholesaler, manufacturer, or importer responsibilities. If you are a retailer, view our retailer license webpage, Publication 78, Sales of Cigarettes and Tobacco Products in California, and Publication 152, Cigarette and Tobacco Products Inspections, for information on registration and retailer responsibilities.

As of June 9, 2016, state law expanded the definition of a tobacco product, for retail licensing purposes, to include:

  • Any product containing, made of, or derived from tobacco or nicotine that is intended for human consumption.
  • Any electronic smoking or vaping device that delivers nicotine or other vaporized liquids.
  • Any component, part, or accessory of a tobacco product, whether or not sold separately.

Examples include, but are not limited to, electronic cigarettes, atomizers, vaping tanks or mods, and eLiquid or eJuice. Tobacco products do not include products that the FDA has approved as cessation products or for other therapeutic purposes (for example, nicotine patches).

Effective January 1, 2017, any retailer who sells any products listed above, is required to obtain and maintain a Cigarette and Tobacco Products Retailer's License from the CDTFA in order to engage in the retail sale of these products.

Please note: if a retailer sells non-nicotine vape liquids and no other cigarettes or tobacco products, the retailer is still required to hold a valid retailer's license. However, if a retailer sells tobacco paraphernalia*, as defined under section 22962(a)(2) of the Business and Professions Code, and does not sell cigarettes or tobacco products, the retailer is not required to hold a valid retailer's license.

*Tobacco paraphernalia includes, but is not limited to, items that do not contain tobacco or nicotine such as cigarette papers or wrappers, pipes, and cigarette rolling machines.

If you are a consumer, please be aware that the CDTFA administers the Cigarette and Tobacco Products Internet Program to collect the California state cigarette and tobacco products taxes and use tax from California consumers purchasing untaxed cigarettes and/or tobacco products from out-of-state Internet retailers and/or by way of mail or telephone for self-consumption in California. For more information about California use tax, please visit our Use Tax Guide

and our Sales and Use Tax in California page.

Register for all CDTFA licenses and permits by using the CDTFA's online registration system. Online registration is a convenient, fast, and secure way to register and is available 24 hours a day. Visit our homepage, and click "Registration" to begin. For a checklist of general information you may need before you begin registration, please visit the Information Needed to Get Started webpage. You may also register in person using a kiosk located at one of our office locations.

If you have any questions, please contact the CDTFA Customer Service Center at 1-800-400-7115 (TTY: 711). Customer service representatives are available weekdays from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (Pacific time), except state holidays.

If you sell cigarette and/or tobacco products, you will also need to obtain a Seller's Permit from the CDTFA. You can register by using CDTFA's online registration.

The Governor's Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) offers extensive information on state, local, and federal permit requirements. For a listing of their assistance centers, visit their website.

Visit Calgold for help with permit and licensing requirements for other state, federal, and local authorities (for example, you may need to be registered with the Franchise Tax Board or the Employment Development Department).

Also, visit California's Tax Service Center for additional information.

You may also want to consult with a tax professional or your local city and county authorities for assistance regarding other agencies' requirements or restrictions.

Taxpayers should notify the CDTFA of any change of address, phone or fax number to ensure that returns and information from the CDTFA are received timely. You should complete form CDTFA-345-SP, Notice of Business Change, Special Taxes and Fees Department Accounts, to notify the CDTFA of changes.

If you need additional information or have questions, please contact the CDTFA Customer Service Center at 1-800-400-7115 (TTY:711), Monday through Friday (except state holidays) 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (Pacific time), and select the option for "Special Taxes and Fees" or email your question to Email Your Tax Questions. For additional ways to contact the CDTFA, please visit our How to Contact Us webpage.

Collecting the Tax

The current and historical cigarette and tobacco products tax rates and licensing fees are available at the Special Tax and Fee rate page.

Yes. The following sales and distributions of cigarettes and tobacco products generally are not subject to the cigarette and tobacco products taxes. The list is not intended to be all-inclusive.

  • Sales of cigarettes or tobacco products by the original importer to a licensed distributor, if the cigarettes or tobacco products are manufactured outside the United States (Revenue and Taxation Code (R&TC)section 30105).
  • Sale or gift of federally tax-free cigarettes or tobacco products when the cigarettes or tobacco products are delivered directly from the manufacturer under Internal Revenue bond to a veteran's home of the State of California or a hospital or domiciliary facility of the United States Veterans' Administration for gratuitous issue to veterans receiving hospitalization or domiciliary care. The tax shall not apply to the use or consumption of such cigarettes or tobacco products by the institution or by the veteran patients or domiciliaries (R&TC section 30105.5).
  • Sales of cigarettes or tobacco products by the manufacturer to a licensed distributor (R&TC section 30103).
  • Sales by a distributor to a common carrier engaged in interstate or foreign passenger service (R&TC section 30104).
  • Sales to the United States military exchanges, commissaries, ships' stores, or the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (R&TC section 30102).
  • Distributions of federally untaxed cigarettes or tobacco products that are under Internal Revenue bond or U.S. Customs control (R&TC section 30102.5).
  • An individual shipment of not more than 400 cigarettes (typically 2 cartons) personally transported into California (R&TC section 30106).
  • Sales and distributions of cigarettes and tobacco products that cannot be taxed by the state under the U.S. Constitution or federal law, or under the California Constitution or state law, such as shipments to purchasers in other states, territories, or foreign countries when the cigarette and tobacco products are not to be returned to California before use.

To properly support your claim for the interstate commerce exemption, you must:

  • Maintain adequate documentation. Evidence of delivery of cigarettes or tobacco products to a destination outside of California must be retained by the distributor. In the case of cigarettes or tobacco products for foreign export, copies of United States Customs shippers' export declarations filed with the Collector of Customs or other documentary evidence of export must be obtained and retained.

Claim the correct wholesale cost for tobacco products. All distributions of untaxed tobacco products must be included in the wholesale cost of distributions. With proper documentation, sales of tobacco products which are shipped to a buyer outside of California may be claimed as an exempt sale. The amount claimed is the wholesale cost to the distributor, not the distributor's selling price.

[Note – the term "Indian" will be used here because that is the term used in state and federal law for "American Indian."] There are no special exemptions from the cigarette and tobacco products taxes for sales of cigarettes and tobacco products to Indians. A non-Indian cigarette distributor who sells cigarettes to an Indian must pay cigarette and tobacco products taxes and apply California cigarette tax stamps to the cigarette packages.

Revenue and Taxation Code section 30126 and section 30131.5 require the CDTFA's annual determination of the tobacco products tax rate pursuant to subdivisions (b) of section 30123 and section 30131.2. The tobacco products tax rate is equivalent to the combined rate of the taxes applied to cigarettes.

Filing and Making a Payment

All licensed distributors, wholesalers, manufacturers, and importers are required to file tax returns, reports, or schedules and remit any amounts owed on or before the 25th of the month following the reporting period. Tax returns, reports, and schedules must be filed even if there were no transactions made during the reporting period covered by the return.

Returns, reports, or schedules and payments must be postmarked by the due date to be considered timely. If the due date falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or state holiday, payments postmarked or received by the next business day will be considered timely.

There are several options for paying any amount due. You can easily and conveniently make your payment online. Select the "Make a Payment" tab from our main page. You can also pay by credit card or directly from your bank account at "Make a Payment", or by calling 1-855-292-8931 (for credit card payments). Please note: if you are making a payment via credit card, a vendor charge of 2.3% of the transaction amount will be added as a processing fee.

You may also submit your payment with your return. Make your check or money order payable to "California Department of Tax and Fee Administration." Always write your account number on your check or money order and make a copy for your records.

Payments can be mailed to:

California Department of Tax and Fee Administration
PO Box 942879
Sacramento, CA 94279-7072

If your estimated average monthly tax liability is $20,000 or more, you will be required to pay the tax by EFT. If you are not required to make tax payments through EFT, you can do so on a voluntary basis. You must submit a completed form CDTFA-555-ST, Authorization Agreement for Electronic Funds Transfer, to enroll in EFT. For more information on the EFT program, visit our Make a Payment webpage and then navigate to the EFT Payment information or view the information on CDTFA's other payment options.

All required records must be retained for at least four years. It is important to keep accurate records of your business activities. Every distributor and every person dealing in, transporting, or storing cigarettes or tobacco products in this state must keep such records, receipts, invoices, and other pertinent papers. These requirements do not apply to tobacco products that are not subject to the tobacco products tax.

  • Sales records
    Every manufacturer, importer, distributor, and wholesaler must maintain accurate and complete sales records for the past four years. The most recent 12 months of these records must be kept at the licensed premises for a period of at least one year after the date of purchase.
  • Purchase records
    Every manufacturer, importer, distributor, wholesaler, and retailer must retain purchase records and other records required by the CDTFA for all cigarettes or tobacco products purchased for a period of four years. The most recent 12 months of these records must be kept at the licensed premises for a period of at least one year after the date of purchase.

In addition, if your records are being audited by the CDTFA, you should retain all records for the period being audited until the audit is completed. If you appeal the findings of the audit or file a claim for refund, you should retain the records until your case is resolved.

If you have overpaid the tax directly to the CDTFA, you may file a claim by using form CDTFA-101, Claim for Refund or Credit, or file an amended return stating the specific reason(s) for the overpayment. Claims for refund should specify the period for which the claim is being made and the amount of the refund being claimed. The claim for refund must be in writing, be signed by you, and state the specific reason(s) why an overpayment was made. Be sure to file your claim for refund by the applicable deadline. If you do not file on time, the CDTFA cannot consider your claim even if you overpaid the tax. Publication 117, Filing a Claim for Refund, details the general requirements for filing a claim for refund.

Mail claims to:

California Department of Tax and Fee Administration
Business Tax and Fee Division
Appeals and Data Analysis Branch, MIC: 33
P.O. Box 942879
Sacramento, CA 94279-0033

Additional refund details can be found at our Special Taxes and Fees Refund page.

If you need to file a claim for refund for California cigarette tax stamps, please review the important information on how to initiate a refund claim in Publication 63, Cigarette Distributor Licensing and Tax Stamp Guide.

Be sure to file your claim for refund by the applicable deadline. If you do not file on time, the CDTFA cannot consider your claim, even if you overpaid the tax. You must file a claim for refund by whichever of the following dates occur later:

  • Three years from the due date of the return on which you overpaid the tax
  • Six months from the date you overpaid the tax
  • Six months from the date a determination (billing) became final
  • Three years from the date the CDTFA collected an involuntary payment, such as from a levy or lien

Please note, that a claim for refund based upon the exportation of tax-paid tobacco products from this state to a point outside this state must be filed within three months after the close of the calendar month in which the tobacco products are exported. (Cigarette and Tobacco Products Tax Regulation 4063.5)

If you have cigarettes which have become unsalable or unfit for use that need to be returned to the manufacturer and the tax stamp is affixed to the packages of cigarettes, you must request a refund of tax stamps in writing to the Appeals and Data Analysis Branch (ADAB), P.O. Box 942879, Sacramento, CA, 94279-0033, or fax your request to 1-916-323-9497.

The request must state the number of tax stamps affixed to the cigarette packs, listed by brand family, and the reason for refund. In addition, you must physically sort the cigarettes by brand family and package the cigarettes in open cartons. This will reduce the time it takes to scan the tax stamps and count the number of packs by brand family. You must also have staff available to destroy the tax stamps using an indelible marker. As a final requirement, a copy of the manufacturer's credit memorandum or affidavit must be provided to the ADAB before your claim for refund can be processed.

If the stamped cigarettes are not returned to the manufacturer, the product must be destroyed in the presence of a CDTFA employee or your claim for refund will be denied. Destruction of product may include, but is not limited to, shredding, cutting, burning, incinerating, or depositing directly into a landfill.

Upon receiving your written request, ADAB staff will contact you to arrange for the verification and destruction of the cigarette tax stamps.

For more information on tax stamps, see Publication 63, Cigarette Distributor Licensing and Tax Stamp Guide.

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