• Tobacco Tax Information
  • Cigarette Tax Information
  • Other Tobacco Products
  • Cigarette Price Listings
  • Classification of Cigars

Tobacco Tax Information


Before a wholesaler or retailer sells any tobacco products in Montana, they should assure that these products are approved for sale in Montana. Review the following directories for a list of tobacco products that are approved for sale in Montana. All wholesalers and retailers selling tobacco products in Montana must be licensed by the Department. Refer to this list of licensed businesses for more information:

Licensed Businesses

Department of Justice Tobacco Sales and Directory - This web site and directory will provide you with the list of tobacco products that are approved by the Department of Justice to be sold in the State of Montana.

Department of Justice Reduced Ignition Propensity Cigarettes (Fire Safe) Standards and Directory - This web site and directory will provide you with information on fire safety standards for cigarettes and a list of cigarettes that are approved by the State Fire Marshall to be sold in the State of Montana.

Department of Revenue Cigar Sales and Directory - Click on the "Classification of Cigars" tab to the right for cigar information. This tab will provide you with information on the classification of "little cigars" as cigarettes and a directory listing which cigars are classified as cigarettes for tax purposes.


Cigarette Tax Information


Montana cigarette wholesalers are required to pre-collect a tax of $1.70 per package of 20 cigarettes (8.5¢ per stick of cigarette). The tax is proportionally adjusted for different size packages. This tax applies to all cigarettes sold in Montana and it is included in the retail price of the cigarettes.

A tax decal must is required to be affixed to each package by a licensed wholesaler. The tax decal can be purchase only by a licensed wholesaler at face value less an allowance to defray the costs of affixing the insignias and pre-collecting the tax on behalf of the State of Montana.

The cigarette tax revenues, after tribal revenue sharing payments, are distributed 8.3% or $2 million, whichever is greater to a state special revenue fund for the credit of the department of public health and human services for the operation and maintenance of state veterans' nursing homes; 2.6% in the long-range building program account; 44% in the state special revenue fund to the credit of the health and Medicaid initiatives account; and the remainder to the state General Fund (16-11-101 through 16-11-159, MCA; 42.31.101 through 43.31.3), ARM and 42.31.301 through 42.31.350, ARM)


Other Tobacco Products


Moist snuff is any finely cut, ground, or powdered tobacco, other than dry snuff, that is intended to be placed in the oral cavity. Moist snuff tobacco products are taxed at a rate of $0.85 per ounce, based upon the listed net weight of the package. The tax is collected monthly from a wholesaler or distributor of the product. The wholesaler or distributor is entitled to a 1.5% allowance for collection and administrative expenses at the time the tax return and payment is remitted to the Department of Revenue. Tobacco products tax revenues, after tribal revenue sharing payments, are distributed as follows: one-half in the state General Fund and one-half in the state special revenue fund account for health and Medicaid initiatives. (16-11-101 through 16-11-159, MCA; 42.31.201 through 42.31.221, ARM) All tobacco products, except cigarettes, and moist snuffs are subject to a tax of 50% of its wholesale price. The tax is collected monthly from a wholesaler or distributor of the product. The wholesaler or distributor is entitled to a 1.5% allowance for collection and administrative expenses at the time the tax return and payment is remitted to the Department of Revenue. Tobacco products tax revenues, after tribal revenue sharing payments, are distributed as follows: one-half in the state General Fund and one-half in the state special revenue fund account for health and Medicaid initiatives. (16-11-101 through 16-11-159, MCA; 42.31.201 through 42.31.221, ARM)
 

TOBACCO PRODUCTS WHOLESALER/SUBJOBBER LICENSES

A wholesaler's license is $50, a subjobber's license is $50 and a tobacco product vendors (ten or more vending machines) license is $50. A license fee is imposed on a cigarette wholesaler, subjobber and vendor who operates ten or more vending machines in Montana. The annual license fee is $50. All revenues are deposited to the General Fund. (16-11-120 through 16-11-125, MCA) Contact the Department of Revenue, eStop Business License Service toll free at (866) 859-2254 or (406) 444-6900 in Helena to register your business and obtain a retailer's license.
 

TOBACCO PRODUCTS RETAIL LICENSE

Retailer's license is $5. A person is required to obtain a $5 annual retailer's license to sell tobacco products (on premises) at retail, whether over the counter, by vending machine, or otherwise. A retail vendor who operates nine or fewer vending machines is considered a retailer and pays an annual license fee of $5. All revenues are deposited to the General Fund. (16-11-120 through 16-11-125, MCA) Contact the Department of Revenue, eStop Business License Service toll free at (866) 859-2254 or (406) 444-6900 in Helena to register your business and obtain a retailer's license.


Cigarette Minimum Price Listing


Minimum Price List - Updated on June 19, 2015

NOTICE:

Montana regulations prohibit the sales of cigarette brands that do not have a minimum price listed. The attached documents provide the complete and current list of cigarette brands that are registered with the Montana Attorney General's Office. Sales of unlisted cigarettes are a violation of 16-11-505 of the Montana Code Annotated, and punishable by 16-11-509, MCA for each violation. A civil penalty in the amount of $250 for the first full or partial pack and $10 for each additional full or partial pack to which a tax insigna is affixed or that is sold, offered for sale, or possessed for sale in violation of the 16-11-505 of the MCA.


Classification of Cigars as Cigarettes


Important Information for Manufacturers, Montana Licensed Wholesalers, Subjobbers and Retailers

Effective July 1, 2007, some cigars because of their appearance and characteristics were classified as cigarettes.

Administrative Rules of Montana 42.31.206, 42.31.207, and 42.31.208 clarify that certain cigars are considered cigarettes for the Youth Access to Tobacco Products Control Act and the taxation of tobacco products in Montana. These rules also establish the criteria and process the department will use to identify which cigars are cigarettes for the Youth Access Act and for tax purposes, and how to contest and request a judicial review of this determination.

These rules impact such cigar brands as (but not limited to) Blackstone, Captain Black, Dark Horse, Dean's, Hats Off, Muriel, Prime Time, Red Buck, Rojo, Swisher Sweet Little Cigars, and Winchester.

Future determinations that a cigar is classified as a cigarette by the department under the administrative rules are effective immediately upon publication. We will not allow time to sell off existing inventory for future determinations. Therefore, if you wish to sell a product that is not on the list, but that you suspect might be in the future, please contact us about that product.

The links below will help you better understand the classification of cigarettes as defined in Montana statute.

Department of Revenue's list of cigars classified as cigarettes
Specific administrative rules related to cigars and cigarettes - Administrative Rules of Montana 42.31.206, 207 and 208
Definition of "cigarette" for tax application purposes as found in 16-11-102 (2)(a), MCA