What is the cigarette tax?
It is a tax on the sale, use, consumption, handling, possession, or distribution of cigarettes in Washington.
Washington consumers who purchase cigarettes outside Washington State, or from some other source without paying Washington taxes, must pay both the cigarette tax and the use tax directly to the Department of Revenue.
What rate do I pay?
The cigarette tax rate for a carton of cigarettes is $30.25.
In addition to the cigarette tax, cigarettes are also subject to sales or use tax.
When is the tax due?
When the cigarettes are brought into the state.
How do I pay the tax?
You must complete a Tax Declaration for Cigarettes.
What is the penalty for possessing untaxed cigarettes?
In addition to the amount of unpaid cigarette tax and use tax, persons who possess untaxed cigarettes may be assessed a penalty of either $10 per pack or $250 (whichever is greater). For more information regarding other applicable penalties, please refer to Chapter 82.24 RCW.
How does Washington State enforce the cigarette tax?
The Department of Revenue and Liquor and Cannabis Board work together to educate consumers of their tax liability and to collect the taxes due.
The Department uses information obtained from cigarette sellers to notify Washington buyers of their tax liability.
The Jenkins Act is a federal law enacted in 1949 that requires sellers of cigarettes to provide information on each sale to states where goods are shipped. Under this act, companies that ship cigarettes to buyers in Washington State must send the Department of Revenue the name, address, and quantity purchased for every cigarette buyer in this state.
What are the funds used for?
Cigarette tax collections are used to fund the state general fund.