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Guidelines to follow on how to obtain Cigarette and Tobacco products licenses in the State of Pennsylvania
What are other tobacco products?

Other tobacco products include Electronic cigarettes, roll-your-own tobacco, granulated, plug cut, crimp cut, ready rubbed and other smoking tobacco, snuff, dry snuff, snuff flour, Cavendish, plug and twist tobacco, fine-cut and other chewing tobaccos, shorts, refuse scraps, clippings, cuttings and sweepings of tobacco but does not include cigarettes and little cigars.

Who is a wholesaler?

A cigarette wholesaler is a person, other than a licensed distributor, who sells taxed (stamped) cigarettes and other tobacco products, obtained from a licensed distributor or another licensed wholesaler, for resale. Tobacco products wholesalers cannot purchase or be in possession of unstamped (untaxed) cigarettes and other tobacco products.

Who is cigarette stamping agent?

Any person who is licensed by the department for the purpose of affixing cigarette tax stamps to packages of cigarettes and transmitting the proper tax to the authorities, and who maintains separate warehousing facilities for the purpose of receiving and distributing cigarettes and conducting their business.

Who is a retailer?

Any person who, in the usual course of business, purchases or receives cigarettes from any source for the purpose of sale to the ultimate consumer and any person who, owns, leases or otherwise operates one or more vending machines for the purpose of sale of cigarettes to the ultimate consumer.

Eligibility and procedure to get tobacco licenses?

If you want to be registered as cigarettes and tobacco stamping agent, wholesaler and dealer in the State of Pennsylvania, you are required to apply for respective licenses from the PA Department of revenue.

Every person selling cigarettes and little cigars will need to apply for an over the counter retailer license.

If you are dealing in other tobacco products, you will need to apply for a separate other tobacco license in addition to cigarette license as cigarette license is not valid for other tobacco products.

Tobacco product licenses can be applied online through PA enterprise registration form PA-100 from the Department of revenue website. You are required to make a user account in order to get access to online forms.

What are the Tobacco License Fees?

The license fee for the tobacco licenses are as follows:

Wholesalers $500
Stamping agent $1500
Retailer $25
Vending Machine $25
Please note that above mentioned fee is for a single business license and location and you have to apply for a separate license for other or multiple retail locations and vending machines.

All the above licenses are required to be renewed annually on the submission of a renewal application along with a renewal fee. Renewal of licenses is made through electronic business filing system e-TIDES.

Do I need any other license or permit for selling tobacco products?

If you register as a tobacco retailer with the State of PA for selling cigarettes and cigars and have a retail location in Philadelphia, you must also register for a tobacco retailer permit in the city of Philadelphia.

If you are selling any other tobacco products, then you are not required to apply for this license from the Philadelphia.

For applying for a tobacco retailer permit in Philadelphia you must have:

  • Cigarette dealer license from the Department of revenue.
  • Tax identification number.
  • Philadelphia Commercial Activity license.
This permit is required for each separate retail location for your business. The retail permit fee is $300 and is valid for one year. After that it can be renewed for another calendar year with the renewal fee of $300.

What are the responsibilities of tobacco license holders?

  • Retailers and wholesalers must obtain and must conspicuously display at their place of business a license obtained from the Department of Revenue to sell cigarettes.
  • Tobacco retailer or wholesaler should not sell or furnish tobacco products to a minor. Violators will be subject to a civil and criminal penalty and fines.
  • Tobacco and cigarette retailer must also obtain a valid sales tax license for all retail locations.
  • Tobacco products wholesalers, dealers and retailers should be in compliance with the tax requirements of the State.

Tax rates on cigarettes and other tobacco products:

  • The tax rate for cigarettes/ little cigars is $2.6 per pack of 20 cigarettes. In addition to the Cigarette Tax, consumers pay a 6% Sales and Use Tax on the retail purchase price of cigarettes, with an additional 1% local Sales Tax in Allegheny County and 2% local Sales Tax in Philadelphia County.
  • The tax rate for other tobacco products are $0.66 for less than 1.2 ounce units and $0.55 for more than 1.2 ounce units.
  • Electronic cigarettes and products are taxed at the rate of 40% of the purchase price of the products.

Who is required to collect tax on tobacco products?

The cigarette tax is collected by the CSA at the time of purchase of stamps from the Department of Revenue.

Other tobacco products tax is collected by the wholesalers and manufacturers from retailers.

Requirements for filing the return of tax:

Cigarettes and other tobacco products tax returns can be filed electronically on department of revenue website. You can make your user account on department of revenue website using an e-tide system and can submit your monthly tax reports online. You can also file hardcopy by downloading form REV-679 (monthly tax report for other tobacco products) for other tobacco products.

For cigarettes reporting, there are several cigarette tax forms available in forms and publication section on the department of revenue website. You can select and file forms as per your business and tax requirements.

Tax payment and return is due on or before the 20th of the following month. Late payment of tax can impose a penalty on you which is 5% of the tax due for each month or a fraction of a month that the period remain unfilled.

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