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Frequently Asked Questions - Tobacco Tax

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Call (603) 230-5920
M-F 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM

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What is the Tobacco Tax?

It is a tax on each package of cigarettes and tobacco products other than cigarettes, such as smokeless tobacco and loose tobacco under RSA Chapter 78 and NH Code of Administrative Rules, Rev 1000.

What is the Tobacco Tax rate?

Effective August 1, 2013, (Chapter 224:379 through :381, Laws of 2011) the Tobacco Tax rates are as follows:

  • The tax rate for each pack containing 20 cigarettes is $1.78 per pack.
  • The tax rate for each pack containing 25 cigarettes is $2.23 per pack.
  • The tax rate for all other tobacco products (OTP), except premium cigars, 65.03% of the wholesale sales price.

Who pays the tax?

The tax on a tobacco product is a direct tax upon the consumer at retail, but is pre-collected and paid by the wholesaler for the purpose of convenience and facility.

How is the tax paid?

For packages of 20 or 25 cigarettes, payment of the tax is evidenced by the wholesaler's purchase of Tobacco Tax stamps from the New Hampshire Department of Revenue Administration, which are affixed to each package of 20 or 25 cigarettes prior to sale to retailers. Since the tax is paid when the wholesaler purchased the stamps, to report the tobacco product that has been stamped, resident wholesalers are required to file Form AU-202, "Wholesaler Cigarette Tax Report" and non-resident wholesalers are required to file Form AU-201, "Non-Resident Wholesaler Cigarette tax Report." Forms AU-201 and AU-202 are available either online or by calling the Department's Forms Line at (603) 230-5001.

For cigarettes sold in packages containing quantities other than 20 or 25 not suitable for stamping and for OTP, payment of the tax is evidenced by the wholesaler's filing of Form DP-151, "Wholesalers; Other Tobacco Product Tax Return" reporting and paying the tax due. Form DP 151 is available either online or by calling the Department's Forms Line at (603) 230-5001.


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When does a wholesaler file the Form DP-151 and pay the tax?

All wholesalers are required to report and pay the tax liability for the collection of the Tobacco Tax on a monthly basis by filing Form DP-151. The DP-151 and payment of the tax are due on or before the 15th day of the month following the end of the reporting period.

Who needs a Tobacco License?

Each tobacco manufacturer, wholesaler, and subjobber shall obtain a Tobacco Tax License from the New Hampshire Department of Revenue Administration before engaging in, or continuing to engage in, the business of selling or distributing tobacco products in New Hampshire. Each wholesale and sub-job outlet is required to have a separate license regardless of the fact that one or more outlets may be owned or controlled by a single person. The fee for licenses is: $100 for a manufacturer's license; $250 for a wholesaler's license; and $150 for a sub-jobber's license. Licenses expire on June 30 of each even-numbered year. A Application for Tobacco Tax License Form DP-31, can be found online or by calling the Department's Forms Line at (603) 230-5001.

Each tobacco retailer, vending machine operator, and sampler shall obtain a license from the NH Liquor Commission before engaging in, or continuing to engage in, the business of selling or distributing tobacco products in New Hampshire. For more information on retailer, vending machine operator and sampler Tobacco Licenses please contact the NH Liquor Commission at (603) 271-3523 or visit their website at: www.nh.gov/liquor/enforcement/licensing. The Liquor Commission's Bureau of Enforcement and Licensing is located at 57 Regional Drive, Concord, NH 03302.

Note: All manufacturers and wholesalers selling cigarettes to consumers (whether directly, or through a distributor, retailer or similar intermediary or intermediaries) in the State of New Hampshire must register with the Attorney General's Office for purposes of the Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) as outlined in RSA 541-C. Please contact the Attorney General's Office at (603) 271-3641 or visit their website at www.doj.nh.gov/consumer/tobacco for more information.


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Where does a licensed wholesaler buy Tobacco Tax Stamps?

A licensed wholesaler may purchase Tobacco Tax Stamps at the Department of Revenue Administration Collection Division located at:

New Hampshire Department of Revenue Administration
Governor Hugh Gallen State Office Park
109 Pleasant Street (Medical & Surgical Building)
Concord, NH 03302-1467

The Department may permit a licensed wholesaler to pay for such stamps within 30 days after the date of purchase, provided a bond satisfactory to the Department in an amount not less than the sale price of such stamps shall have been filed with the Department, conditioned upon the payment of such stamps.   To open a credit account and charge purchases of stamps, wholesalers shall submit a written request to:

New Hampshire Department of Revenue Administration
Collections Division
PO Box 454
Concord, NH 03302-0454

The request shall be accompanied by:

(1) The wholesaler's most recent financial statement prepared in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles;
(2) The names, addresses and telephone numbers of 3 credit references; and
(3) A completed Form CD-18, "Credit Bond Certification Form."
Form CD-18 is available either online or by calling the Department's Forms Line at (603) 230-5001.

The NH Department of Insurance publishes a list of Licensed Surety Companies licensed to issue a surety bond in New Hampshire at: www.nh.gov/insurance/companies.
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Is there a Tobacco Tax on cigars?

Yes. However, "premium cigars" are excluded from the Tobacco Tax. Premium cigars are cigars made entirely by hand of all natural tobacco leaf, hand constructed and hand wrapped, wholesaling for $2 or more, weighing more than 3 pounds per 1000 cigars, and kept in a humidor at the proper humidity.

Cigars that do not meet the definition of a "premium cigar" or the definition of a "cigarette" under RSA 78:1, XVII are taxed at the rate for OTP. Little cigars, however, are deemed cigarettes under the statute and are taxed at the cigarette rate. (See TIR 2013-002 pdf file issued July 19, 2013 for more information).
Note: the Tobacco Tax does not apply to little cigars sold individually to retail stores.

Is there a tax on cigarettes I buy on the Internet?

Yes. However, most online cigarette vendors do not pre-collect and remit state tobacco tax for each sale. Therefore, you, as the consumer, may be responsible for paying the tax directly to the NH Department of Revenue for your online purchase(s). When a consumer purchases cigarettes from a local grocery or convenience store, the consumer is technically liable for paying the Tobacco Tax on that purchase. Because of the State's pre-collection process, however, the tax liability is not readily apparent to the consumer. Cigarettes sold at retail in a local grocery or convenience store reflect the pre-collected tax in the price of the cigarette.

Under the Jenkins Act, cigarette vendors who sell and ship cigarettes into another state to anyone other than a licensed distributor must report to the State:

1) the name and address of the person(s) to whom cigarettes shipments were made;
2) the brands of cigarettes shipped; and
3) the quantities of cigarettes shipped. See Jenkins Act 15 U.S.C. § 375 – 378.

Who do I contact with questions?

Contact the Department at (603) 230-5920, Monday through Friday, 8:00 A.M. – 4:30 P.M.

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New Hampshire Department of Revenue Administration
Governor Hugh Gallen State Office Park
109 Pleasant Street (Medical & Surgical Building)
(603) 230-5000  |  
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