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How to obtain Tobacco license in the State of Virginia

Wholesale dealer means any person who sells tobacco products at wholesale to retail dealers or institutional, commercial or industrial users.

Manufacturer means a person who manufactures or produces tobacco products and sells tobacco products to a distributor.

Retail dealer means any person who sells or offers any tobacco products for sale to consumers. Distributor means;

  • Any person engaged in the business of selling tobacco products in the Commonwealth.
  • Any person who makes, manufactures, fabricates, or stores, and ships or transports tobacco products in the Commonwealth for sale in the Commonwealth;
  • Any retail dealer in possession of untaxed tobacco products in the Commonwealth.

How to apply for a distributor license in the State of Virginia?

Any person who is engaged in the business of selling tobacco products as a distributor in the State of Virginia is required to obtain a license from the Department of taxation.

Distributor license is obtained separately for each place of business.

The distributor license application is available on the TAX website in prescribed format.

Following information is required from the applicant:

  • The name and address of the applicant. If the applicant is a corporation, then the name and address of its principal officers and if the applicant is any other type of entity, then the name and address of each of its members.
  • Complete address of the applicant‘s principal place of business.
  • Location where the business to be licensed is to be conducted and;
  • Such other information as TAX may require.
The fee for distributor‘s license application is $750 for a three year license. When the distributor has more than one place of business, Department, at its discretion, may waive the application fee for its other places of business.

What are the duties and responsibilities of a tobacco distributor?

It is the responsibility of tobacco distributor to display its tobacco license in a prominent position at the business location and also provide the copy of the same to wholesalers and retail dealers in the state.

  • The distributor should also notify all the wholesalers and retailers in case its license gets revoked or cancelled.
  • Each distributor must keep in each licensed place of business complete and accurate records for that place of business.

What are the State requirements for an applicant background check?

Virginia TAX will conduct a background investigation of the license applicant and any of its officers and employees as deemed necessary by TAX. The investigation includes applicable Federal and State criminal history records search and fingerprinting as required by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

An additional fee of $100 is charged for applicant background investigation.

Can a tobacco distributor license be revoked?

Yes, if the distributor license holder is found guilty of any fraud or misrepresentation or convicted of a felony or any fraudulent or treason activity, TAX may refuse to issue a distributor‘s license or may suspend, revoke or refuse to renew a distributor‘s license.

How can a tobacco retailer obtain a license for its retail business?

Any person doing business of selling cigarettes and other tobacco products in the State to ultimate consumers at retail locations is required to obtain a retail dealer‘s license for the sale of cigarettes and other tobacco products. A retail dealer is also required to be registered with the department of taxation if:

  • It buys tobacco products exclusively from a wholesale dealer located in another state that has not obtained a Tobacco Products Tax license from the Department.
Cigarette retailers are also required to have local business licenses in the localities where their retail stores are located.

Cigarette retailers should also apply for a Cigarette resale certificate from the department of taxation on from ST-10C for resale cigarettes in Virginia. The license fee is $50 and a license is issued within 30 days of submitting of application.

What are the requirements for tobacco manufacturer in the State of Virginia?

Any person who sells cigarettes to consumers either directly or through a distributor is required to be listed as a manufacturer on the Virginia Tobacco Directory which is published by the Office of Attorney General website.

All manufacturers producing cigarettes or shipping cigarettes into or within Virginia, must file a monthly report of such activities on form TT-18 with the department of taxation. This report is due on the tenth of each month following the reporting month.

Failure to file the report on time impose a penalty of amount $5,000.

Tax rates in the State of Virginia:

  • Cigarettes: $0.3 per pack of 20 cigarettes.
  • Moist snuff: $0.18 per ounce with a proportionate tax at the same rate on all fractional parts of an ounce.
  • All other tobacco products: 10% of the manufacturers‘ sales price.
The tobacco products tax was imposed on the distributor at the time the distributor sells the tobacco products to a retail dealer located in Virginia.

Every distributor is required to file a monthly return of tax on formTT_8 along with the tax payment. Return is filed on 20th of every month for the previous month. Tax payments can be made electronically.

What are the penalties for non-filing of tax return and non-payment of tax?

  • Any distributor who fails to file a return or pay the full amount of the tax due will be subject to a penalty equal to five percent of the tax due if the failure is for not more than one month, with an additional two percent for each additional month or fraction thereof up to maximum 20%.
  • Any distributor who files a false or fraudulent return with willful intent to defraud will be subject to a penalty equal to 50 percent of the tax due.
Important tips to get a retail tobacco license Virginai: The inspector will visit the place for the inspection to make sure the location meets the standards, it is in a running condition and generally there is no expedited process to get a tobacco license Virginia.

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