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Tobacco Tax FAQ

–State Tobacco Tax

What is the state tax rate on tobacco products?
Alabama’s tax rate on cigarettes is 33.75 mills for each cigarette.  This converts to $0.03375 for one stick, $0.675 for a package of 20 cigarettes and $0.84375 for a package of 25 cigarettes. Alabama’s tax rates on tobacco products other than cigarettes (snuff, smoking tobacco, chewing tobacco, and cigars) vary based on weight and the number of cigars received.  View the State Tobacco Tax Rates

How is state tax on tobacco products paid?
State tax on cigarettes is paid by purchasing revenue stamps and affixing the stamp to the package of cigarettes. Distributors can only purchase stamps from the Alabama Department of Revenue.  Consumers who purchase cigarettes for which the tax has not been paid are required to remit the tax on cigarettes by return.  State taxes on tobacco products other than cigarettes are paid by tax return.  Tobacco wholesalers normally pay the taxes. However, if a retailer or consumer receives untaxed products, it is their responsibility to remit the tax to the Department.

How much are the stamps for cigars, snuff, chewing tobacco and smoking tobacco?
There is not a stamp for these products, which are referred to as “other tobacco products” (OTP). The state tax rates vary, and taxes are paid by filing a monthly state tobacco tax return that is due by the twentieth of the month for the previous calendar month’s activity. The tax for regular cigars is based on the number of cigars received, whereas the tax for little cigars, snuff, chewing tobacco and smoking tobacco is based on weight.

I am located in Alabama and want to distribute cigars at wholesale in Alabama and to other states. I will receive these cigars from suppliers in the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and other states. What are my filing requirements?
Alabama Code Section 40-25-2 states that in addition to all other taxes of every kind imposed by law, every person, firm, corporation, club or association, within the State of Alabama who sells or stores or receives for the purpose of distribution to any person, firm, corporation, club or association, within the State of Alabama, cigars, cheroots, stogies . . . or any substitute therefor, shall pay to the State of Alabama a license or privilege tax. The distributor is responsible for filing a monthly state tobacco tax return and remitting the state tax on all untaxed cigars received for distribution. If the distributor wants to distribute tobacco products into another state, Alabama tax free, they must apply and qualify for a tobacco stamping permit (40-25-16) to become a qualified wholesaler. According to the provisions of Section 40-25-15, only a qualified wholesaler may sell tobacco products exempt from Alabama’s tobacco tax. Also, if the distributor distributes the cigars into a state-administered county, they must file a monthly county tobacco tax return, and pay the county tax for each county in which there was activity. Both returns and tax payments are collected by the Department of Revenue and are due by the twentieth of the month. (Section 40-25-15 provides for a nontaxable sale by a qualified wholesaler or jobber if the sale is to another state, the United States or any instrumentality of the United States, or ships engaged in foreign commerce or coastwise shipping between points in this state and points outside this state. However, the product may be taxable in the state into which it is distributed.)

I am going out-of-business and wish to cancel my stamping permit. How can I receive a refund for the cigarette revenue stamps that I did not use?
The taxpayer must provide the Tobacco Tax Section written documentation concerning their effective out-of-business date. To receive a refund for unused stamps, the taxpayer must return the stamps to the Department along with a copy of the purchase invoice to substantiate the stamp sale. If the taxpayer purchased the stamps, and they returned them within the statute of limitations, a refund is issued to the taxpayer for the tax originally paid.

Is there a state tax on rolling papers?
There is not a state tax on rolling papers. However, some counties do levy a tax on rolling papers. The tax rates range from $0.05 to $0.25 per package.

Can we sell single cigarettes?
No. Since the revenue stamp is not affixed to individual sticks of cigarettes, there would be no evidence of tax payment. Section 40-25-2(f), Code of Alabama 1975, states that stamps in the amount of the tax shall be affixed to the box or container from which the tobacco product is sold at retail. In the case of cigarettes, the stamp shall be affixed to the individual package of cigarettes. Taxable tobacco products offered for sale at wholesale or retail without the appropriate revenue stamp affixed in the above manner is subject to confiscation by the Alabama Department of Revenue.

How do I obtain state cigarette stamps?
State stamps may be ordered by permitted wholesalers by logging into their MAT account and placing an order.  See FAQs below on Ordering Stamps through MAT.

–County Tobacco Tax

How do I pay state-administered county tobacco taxes?
State-administered county tobacco taxes are paid on cigarettes by purchasing the county revenue stamp from the Alabama Department of Revenue and affixing the stamp to the cigarette package prior to distribution. All cigarette products placed in retail facilities must have the appropriate county stamp affixed; otherwise, the product is subject to confiscation. Consumers receiving untaxed cigarettes and manufacturers distributing promotional cigarettes are to remit the county tax to the Department by filing a monthly tax return. Taxes on tobacco products other than cigarettes (OTP) are paid by all distributors and consumers by filing a monthly tax return. See Form Search

I operate a business in a county that is not administered by the State.  Who should I contact?
Questions relating to county tobacco taxes not administered by the Alabama Department of Revenue must be directed to the appropriate county commission.

What are the county tax rates on cigarettes?
The county tax rates on cigarettes are based on a per package basis. County cigarette tax rates vary from county to county according to the language of each Act. County cigarette tax rates range from a low of $0.01 to a high of $0.25 per package. See County Tax Rates

Are there county taxes on chewing tobacco, snuff, smoking tobacco, cigars, or rolling papers?
These items are commonly referred to as other tobacco products (OTP). Most of the counties impose a tax on these items. The tax rates vary according to each county Act. See County Tax Rates

How are cigars taxed for county purposes?
The tax on cigars differs between counties. Standard cigars for state-administered counties are all taxed per cigar, or each, and the rates range from $0.02 to $0.12. Little cigars are taxed by the pack or per each little cigar. The rate per pack of little cigars ranges from $0.04 to $0.12. The rate per each cigar ranges from $0.02 to $0.05. See County Tax Rates

Are there county revenue stamps that I must apply to my product?
Yes, state-administered county cigarette tax is collected by purchasing the stamp from the Alabama Department of Revenue. Some self-administered counties also collect and administer their taxes by using revenue stamps.

Is there a tax on rolling papers?
Some state-administered counties levy a tax on rolling papers.  The tax rates range from $0.05 to $0.25 per package.  See the tax return for appropriate rates.

— Tobacco Tax: Ordering Stamps through MAT

When is the new system available to use to submit my cigarette tax stamp order?
Effective May 18, 2017, you will be able to submit state and county cigarette tax stamp orders through our My Alabama
Taxes (MAT) portal.

What type stamps may be ordered using MAT?
Both state tobacco stamps (consignment and cash/EFT orders) and county tobacco stamps (cash/EFT only) administered
by the Department may be ordered via MAT.

Once a cigarette tax stamp order has been submitted, how much time is allowed to cancel that order?
This system operates in “real time”. Therefore, once an order has been submitted our staff is being notified within the
system that a new order has been received and is ready to be fulfilled. If the order is submitted before, or close to, the
daily cut-off of 1 p.m. CST for same day shipments, that order could very well be fulfilled within a matter of minutes.
The quickest and most effective way to contact us would be to call 334-242-9627 immediately so that we can cancel the
order. Because this system operates in “real time”, please review your order thoroughly – specifically the stamp type and
quantity – before submitting it to us.

How can a correction be made before submission of an order if the wrong stamp type or quantity is chosen?
Once a “new line item” – your stamp type and quantity – has been saved to an order it can be edited by entering the
correct count. You can also choose a new type from the drop down if you select the incorrect one.

How do we notify you of any special shipping methods for a stamp order?
We use FedEx shipping. There is an area on your order form where you can choose whether you want pickup, overnight
or 2-day delivery. Please use this feature to let our staff know the preferred shipping method. If the FedEx account
number is incorrect please make the necessary changes.

Can multiple orders be future dated to cover a specific time period?
No, the system uses the system date that the order was created. Therefore, orders dated for the future are unavailable. If
multiple orders are submitted on the same day before the 1 p.m. cut off, they will be processed for shipment that day;
the related invoices would all have the same invoice and due dates.

Can the order be placed the same day as pick up? How much time is needed for pick up orders to be ready?
The order can be submitted on the same day as the intended pick up day. Our office is available for stamp pickup from
8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., Monday – Friday. Please give our office a minimum of one hour lead time for pickups. Otherwise,
your driver may have to wait before the stamps are ready for pickup. Cash orders (EFT) require that the payment be
submitted prior to 3:30 p.m. for pickup on the next business day.

Will there be confirmations sent that an order has been received and processed?
The person or persons authorized by you to access MAT/submit your stamp order will receive a confirmation when they
click on the “submit” button that the stamp order has been submitted to the Tobacco Tax Section. Once the order has
been fulfilled, the invoice associated with the order will be available in MAT for viewing and payment, if applicable.

Is there a limit to the amount of stamps that can be ordered online?
No. However, the cigarette tax stamp ordering system is not tied to consignment balances. Therefore, state consignment
customers must be aware of their available consignment balance and place orders within their bond limit. Failure to do so
will result in the stamp order being modified to accommodate the available balance.