No one is talking about the new legislation that was introduced in Congress to enforce the collection of the–now huge–federal excise tax on cigarettes. It’s called the “Prevent All Cigarette Trafficking Act of 2009” or PACT Act.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in five adults in this country smoke. The financial stakes are high and the PACT Act will help capture Federal, State, and local excise tax revenue if enacted.
The158 percent federal excise tax increase on cigarettes that will go into effect this Wednesday, April 1, was enacted to help subsidize the State Children’s Health Insurance Plan (SCHIP) that was signed into law in February.
Currently the federal tax is 39 cents and will rise to a whopping $1.01. Depending on which state a smoker resides there are additional local taxes tacked onto each pack of cigarettes. The New York cigarette tax is the highest at $2.75, while South Carolina has a 7-cent excise tax. View your state here.
On March 23, 2009, a Bill was introduced in the House of Representatives by Congressman Anthony D. Weiner of New York, which was referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary.
HR 1676 would prevent tobacco smuggling and ensure the collection of all tobacco taxes.
With a few exceptions, all cigarettes and smokeless tobacco would be deemed non-mailable and would not be deposited in or carried through the United States Postal Service mails. Currently FedEx, UPS and DHL have voluntarily agreed not to ship cigarettes. View postal press release regarding new rules here.
Failing to comply with state tax laws by any seller making a sale via telephone, the mail, or the Internet would be a federal offense.
Age verification, package labeling and inspection authority would be imposed.
Democratic Congressman Anthony D. Weiner of New York, born 1964, has been in the House of Representatives since 1999. Congressman Weiner was elected to the New York City Council in 1991 where he spent the next seven years.