Florida Tax Results in Cigarette Bootlegging

By: Mike Vasilinda Email
By: Mike Vasilinda Email

At this convenience store a mile and a half north of the border, there were four cars with Florida plates. Jan from Tallahassee pulled in and made it five.

“I bet you came to buy cigarettes” we asked. Jan didn’t want to give us her last name, but responded “Yes I did as a matter of fact” It’s the principle. They don’t need to single out smokers for tax”.

Kathy McKee started making the 40 from Crawfordville mile trip July first.

“We come at least twice a month”. She says she buys two cartons each time. That means she is costing Florida about forty dollars a month. “Could Be” she responds.

Jim Smith from the association of convenience stores says it is still early to pinpoint lost sales in Florida, but…“Close to Georgia and Alabama, my retailers are reporting a drop in sales”. “How big”? We ask. “Right now, ten to fifteen percent for some of them” says Smith.

Another threat to state revenues are internet sales. This site offers cheap smokes and promises no reporting. Marie Carpenter from the Department of Business and Professional Regulation says you could get stuck for the tax if you get caught. The state has hired 7 new auditors to monitor sales.

“ If the companies don’t pay to us, we can go to the consumers to collect that tax”, says Carpenter.

Under Florida law, it is legal to possess 3 cartons of cigarettes without a Florida tax stamp, but it is illegal to buy them over the internet and not pay the tax.

If you feel guilty about not paying the state for cigarettes bought over the internet, you can download a form the Florida Department of Business on the internet at: http://www.myflorida.com/dbpr/consumers.html

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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by pete Location: London UK on Aug 5, 2009 at 07:19 AM
    Hey over there,coming in winter,you anti smokers,lined up for early bird gorging,happy hour all drinks half price,ladies drink free,legalize pot gang,non smoking gum chewing spitters fouling the floors,no deposit on beverage containers,no helmets om motor bikes,you are all a bunch of hyporites. You all atke up as space in hospitals as anyone else,and not forgetting the single moms and their broods.
  • by me on Aug 5, 2009 at 05:56 AM
    Thanks SB for the 305 info. I'll check out AL when I go that way.
  • by GaBound Location: Florida on Aug 5, 2009 at 05:52 AM
    GV you are correct they are to blame and the fact that florida took the stimulis money and now they have to find a way to repay it at anyones expense. WE NEED A FRESH START FOR 2010
  • by GV Location: Ga on Aug 5, 2009 at 03:44 AM
    GABound,that's what obama said he was gonna do,and that's why most people voted for him.Make the rich poor,and the poor rich.The people who voted for obama are 100% to blame.
  • by Your Democratic Party on Aug 4, 2009 at 11:32 PM
    I'd take illegal Mexicans over smelly smokers any day.
  • by useyourhead Location: notjustforahat on Aug 4, 2009 at 06:55 PM
    Buy your own tobacco , papper and filters on-line you can purchase a rolling machine also. Add your own chemicals to the tobacco then you know whats been added. The average smoker couls save thousands every year.
  • by Steve on Aug 4, 2009 at 04:23 PM
    Marlboro mediums was selling for 23.99 a carton yesterday at the little gas/convience store in the wal-mart in quincy. 23.99
  • by SuperJames Location: Tally-ho on Aug 4, 2009 at 02:11 PM
    I read this article yesterday, and immediately hopped in the car for GA this morning. Saved around $22 total on two cartons of Dorals!!!
  • by GABound Location: Florida on Aug 4, 2009 at 01:41 PM
    Well to make things fair and balanced they should not discriminate against smokers they should make this across the board and do a state tax. Then we all pay. This is price gouging and something needs to be done about it. we are already in bad economic times and the poor keep getting richer and the working are getting poorer.
  • by SB Location: Florida on Aug 4, 2009 at 12:45 PM
    What the heck are you non-smokers complaining for...heck us smokers pay for the cigarettes and your smoke for free with our second hand smoke!! The tax is ridiculous and uncalled for! I smoke and I pay for my own cigs right here in Florida!! I pay the stupid tax because I feel by driving to Georgia that you are still wasting money because you are burning the gas to go there!! Georgia does not sale 305 cigs!! Alabama does though and they are cheaper there!!
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