(New York City Administrative Code Title 11, Chapter 13)
New York City alone meets the state criteria for authority to impose local excise taxes on tobacco products. New York City imposes a tax of $1.50 per package of 20 cigarettes (or $0.75 for every 10 cigarettes). In addition, if a pack of cigarettes contains more than 20 cigarettes, a tax of $0.38 is imposed on each additional 5 cigarettes. Cigarettes sold in New York City must have a joint state and city tax stamp to demonstrate payment.
New York City also imposes excise taxes on non-cigarette tobacco products:
- Cigar: $0.80 per individually packed cigar; for a package, $0.80 for the first cigar, plus $0.175 for each additional cigar
- Little cigar: $1.09 per pack
- Smokeless tobacco: $0.80 per 1.2 oz. plus an additional $0.20 for each 0.3 oz. or any fraction thereof in excess of 1.2 oz.
- Snus: $0.80 per 0.32 oz. plus an additional $0.20 for each 0.08 oz. or any fraction thereof in excess of 0.32 oz.
- Shisha: $1.70 per 3.5 oz. plus an additional $0.34 for each 0.7 oz., or any fraction thereof in excess of 3.5 oz.
- Loose tobacco: $0.25 per 1.5 oz. package plus an additional $0.05 for each 0.3 oz. or any fraction thereof in excess of 1.5 oz.
In very limited circumstances, cigarettes and other tobacco products may be exempt from NYC taxes. Please visit the New York City “Cigarette and Other Tobacco Products Tax” webpage for more details.
Cigarette packs found at a retail store without valid tax stamps affixed are presumed contraband. Anyone who possesses or transports more than 400 unstamped cigarettes must have invoices or delivery tickets showing the name and address of the seller and purchaser, and the quantity and brands of the cigarettes transported. Without this evidence, the person will be presumed to be a retail dealer.
Failure to pay tax or to timely file the necessary tax returns is a violation subject to penalty. The Commissioner of Finance will determine the amount of tax due and notify the person liable for the tax, and has the discretion to assess an additional penalty of 50 percent of the tax due. The determination of tax and penalty is final unless, within 90 days of receiving notice, the person liable for the tax (1) serves a petition upon the Commissioner of Finance, and (2) files a petition with the tax appeals tribunal for a hearing. After a hearing, the tax appeals tribunal gives notice of its determination to the person liable for the tax and to the Commissioner of Finance. The determination of the appeals tribunal may be reviewed by the courts.
In addition to any other penalty, the Commissioner of Finance may impose:
- A penalty of up to $100 for every 200 cigarettes (or fraction of 200 cigarettes) in excess of 1,000 untaxed cigarettes;
- A penalty of up to $200 for every 10 (or fraction of 10) false, altered, or counterfeit tax stamps in excess of 100 of these stamps;
- Higher penalties for violations involving larger quantities of untaxed cigarettes or false/counterfeit tax stamps.
Enforcement and Reporting Violations
The Commissioner of Finance has the authority to assess and determine taxes and penalties owed. Failure to pay the tax or any other violations of the tax law may be reported to the Commissioner of Finance, who may then take further action.