Jump to navigation
Skip to main content
Mail a Form
Cigarette Tax -- Quick Answers
Unstamped cigarettes, cigarettes not certified to be sold in Colorado, cigarettes that are not fire-safe and cigarettes not to be sold in the U.S. are all considered contraband.
Penalty for possessing unstamped cigarettes
Every pack of cigarettes sold to consumers in Colorado must have a stamp affixed to the bottom of the pack. Cigarettes that do not have a stamp affixed are contraband (illegal). Unstamped cigarettes not in the possession of a licensed cigarette distributor is subject to a penalty of twenty-five cents per cigarette.
Taxability of electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes)
E-cigarettes that do not contain any tobacco are not subject to the tobacco excise tax, however sales tax does apply to the purchase.
Due date for cigarette stamp orders
The date the stamp order is received by the department determines the due date for cigarette stamps, not shipment or receipt date. This information is found in the cigarette tax shipment invoice letter that is delivered with the stamps.
Renewing a cigarette distributor license
Along with the renewal form and payment, documents required for license renewal include:
any unfiled MSA documents (
Licensed Distributor Reporting Form (DR 1285)
Tobacco Distributor's Certificate of Exemption (DR 1286
any unfiled tax returns
payment of outstanding debt(s) due to the department
a bond, if required, and
a letter of evidence from a distributor that supplies product to the licensee. The product should either be from a participating manufacturer or a manufacturer who remits escrow to an applicable Colorado tobacco escrow account.
Form DR 1284
Distributors who receive NPM products directly from the manufacturer are required to file a
Licensed Distributor Reporting Form (DR 1284)
Jenkins/PACT Act reporting requirements
Federal law under the Jenkins and PACT Act states that distributors selling tobacco, in interstate commerce, into Colorado are required to file the PACT Act registration form. In addition, distributors should file by the tenth day of the month a memorandum or a copy of the invoice covering every shipment of cigarettes, roll your own (RYO), or smokeless tobacco made into Colorado during the previous month.
Penalty for purchasing unstamped (contraband) cigarettes
Every pack of cigarettes sold to consumers in Colorado must have a stamp affixed to the bottom of the pack. Cigarettes that do not have a stamp affixed are contraband (illegal). Unstamped cigarettes not in the possession of a licensed cigarette distributor may be seized and is subject to a penalty of twenty-five cents per cigarettes.
Reducing cigarette bond requirement
Per statute, cigarette distributors who have a surety bond are allowed to reduce the bond amount by 20 percent annually if they have not had a cigarette tax delinquency in the previous year. The department sends out a letter before the renewal of the cigarette licenses regarding a licensee's bond status.
Colorado cigarette license
Retailers do not need a cigarette license to sell cigarettes to the end consumer. The retailer must have a sales tax license to purchase Colorado stamped cigarettes from a licensed Colorado distributor and remit state sales tax.
Selling cigarettes not on the Certified Brands Directory list
Before you start selling cigarettes that are not on the
Certified Brands Directory
, contact the Tobacco Settlement Section of the Attorney General's Office at (720) 508-6218 for more information.
Tax rates for consumers
Cigarette File Web page
Unstamped cigarettes or untaxed tobacco products penalty charges
When purchasing cigarettes, ensure that the packs have Colorado cigarette tax stamps affixed. Effective August 5, 2009, every retailer who is not a licensed tobacco products distributor must keep at its place of business complete and accurate records to show that all tobacco products received by the retailer were purchased from a licensed distributor.