Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration announced today that the state Department of Taxation and Finance, State Police and federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives have seized an tobacco products worth about $1.2 million in the past three weeks in a new push to enforce the state’s tobacco and cigarette taxes.
The agencies have seized 19,744 cartons of cigarettes, 24,882 cigars and 22.75 pounds of tobacco, state officials said. They have conducted 357 retail inspections and increased cigarette tax stamps by 14 percent from May to June.
While they would not detail enforcement strategies, they said the stepped-up enforcement efforts are taking place statewide and currently are focused on premium-brand cigarettes and tobacco, according to Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy, Howard Glaser, director of state operations, and Department of Taxation and Finance Commissioner Thomas Mattox.
Enforcement includes cracking down on unstamped cigarettes that are sold to non-Native Americans on Indian tribal lands, but not tobacco products manufactured by tribes.
Lt. Duffy said the administration respects the sovereignty of the Indian nations but will be moving to collect all cigarette taxes owed to the state.
New York collects about $1.7 billion in cigarette and tobacco taxes each year, and the stepped up enforcement is expected to bring in $27 million more.
“It has been our consistent position that cigarettes should be taxed under the law and the courts have repeatedly agreed,” Cuomo said in a statement. “The law is the law and we will enforce it. Everyone must pay their fair share, and that includes those who sell cigarettes.”