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STATE BOARD OF EQUALIZATION STAFF LEGISLATIVE ENROLLED BILL ANALYSIS

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STATE BOARD OF EQUALIZATION STAFF LEGISLATIVE ENROLLED BILL ANALYSIS
STATE BOARD OF EQUALIZATION
STAFF LEGISLATIVE ENROLLED BILL ANALYSIS
Date Amended:
Chapter 265
Bill No:
AB 2496
Tax:
Cigarette and Tobacco Products Tax
Cigarette and Tobacco Products
Licensing Act
Author:
Nava
Related Bills:
AB 2733 (Ruskin)
This analysis will only address the bill's provisions which impact the State Board
of Equalization (BOE).
BILL SUMMARY
Among other things, this bill would make the following BOE-related changes:
•
Impose additional licensing requirements upon every manufacturer and every
importer for the purpose of enforcement of the Model Statute 1 and Tobacco
Directory Law in order to be eligible to obtain and maintain a license under the
Cigarette and Tobacco Products Licensing Act of 2003 (Licensing Act);
•
Expand the BOE’s inspection authority under the Licensing Act to any site where
evidence of activities involve violations of the Tobacco Directory Law;
•
Prohibit for purposes of the Licensing Act an importer, distributor, wholesaler,
distributor functioning as a wholesaler, or retailer from purchasing, obtaining, or
otherwise acquiring any package of cigarettes to which a stamp is affixed in violation
of the Tobacco Directory Law;
•
Allow a licensed retailer a 60-day period to possess, transport, and sell cigarettes
removed from the Tobacco Directory before such products become subject to
seizure and destruction;
•
Expand the actions the BOE may take for violations of the Tobacco Directory’s
prohibitions from a distributor to any person for, in part, selling, acquiring and
possessing cigarettes of a tobacco product manufacturer or brand family not
included in the Tobacco Directory;
•
Require a foreign tobacco product manufacturer to submit to the BOE certain
Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau forms; and
•
Add to the Cigarette and Tobacco Products Tax Law additional non-face-to-face
sales restrictions, including new delivery seller requirements.
ANALYSIS
CURRENT LAW
Cigarette and Tobacco Products Tax Law (Tax Law). Under existing law, the BOE
administers the Tax Law (Part 13 commencing with Section 30001) of Division 2 of the
Revenue and Taxation Code). Revenue and Taxation Code Section 30451 specifically
1
Article 3 (commencing with Section 104555), Chapter 1, Part 3, Division 103 of the Health and Safety Code.
This staff analysis is provided to address various administrative, cost, revenue and policy
issues; it is not to be construed to reflect or suggest the BOE’s formal position.
Assembly Bill 2496 (Nava)
Page 2
provides that the BOE shall enforce the provisions of the Tax Law and may prescribe,
adopt, and enforce rules and regulations relating to the administration and enforcement.
The current excise tax on cigarettes is 87 cents per package of 20 (43 ½ mills per
cigarette). The cigarette tax is paid through the use of stamps or meter impressions.
An appropriate stamp is affixed to, or an appropriate meter impression is made on, each
package of cigarettes prior to the distribution of the cigarettes.
The tobacco products tax rate is determined annually by the BOE and based on the
March 1 wholesale cost of cigarettes. Currently, the surcharge rate for fiscal year 201011 is 33.02 percent. The tobacco products tax is paid through the use of a return on
which the distributor reports the wholesale cost of the tobacco products distributed and
calculates the tax due.
Face-to-Face Sale. Section 30101.7 defines a “face-to-face sale” to mean a sale in
which the purchaser is in the physical presence of the seller or the seller’s employee or
agent at the time of the sale. A face-to-face sale does not include any transaction
conducted by mail order, the Internet, telephone, or any other anonymous transaction
method in which the buyer is not in the seller’s physical presence.
Persons may engage in a non-face-to-face sale of cigarettes to a person in California
provided that both of the following conditions are met:
•
The seller has fully complied with all of the requirements of Chapter 10A
(commencing with Section 375) of Title 15 of the United States Code, otherwise
known as the Jenkins Act.
•
The seller has fully complied with either of the following requirements:
(1) All applicable California taxes on the cigarettes have been paid.
(2) The seller includes on the outside of the shipping container for any cigarettes
shipped to a resident in California from any source in the United States an
externally visible and easily legible notice located on the same side of the
shipping container as the address to which the package is delivered stating as
follows:
"IF THESE CIGARETTES HAVE BEEN SHIPPED TO YOU FROM A SELLER
LOCATED OUTSIDE OF THE STATE IN WHICH YOU RESIDE, THE SELLER
HAS REPORTED PURSUANT TO FEDERAL LAW THE SALE OF THESE
CIGARETTES TO YOUR STATE TAX COLLECTION AGENCY, INCLUDING
YOUR NAME AND ADDRESS. YOU ARE LEGALLY RESPONSIBLE FOR ALL
APPLICABLE UNPAID STATE TAXES ON THESE CIGARETTES."
Tobacco Directory Law. Also incorporated in the Tax Law is the Tobacco Directory
Law, which more effectively enforces and promotes the purpose of the Model Statute.
The Tobacco Directory Law, which can be found in Section 30165.1, requires, in part,
the Attorney General to develop and publish on its Internet web site a directory listing
the following:
•
All tobacco manufacturers that have provided current, timely, and accurate
certifications that certify the tobacco manufacturer is either a participating
manufacturer under the Master Settlement Agreement (MSA), or is a nonparticipating manufacturer (NPM) that has made all required escrow payments.
This staff analysis is provided to address various administrative, cost, revenue and policy
issues; it is not to be construed to reflect or suggest the BOE’s formal position.
Assembly Bill 2496 (Nava)
•
Page 3
All brand families that are listed in the certifications, except as specified.
No person may affix, or cause to be affixed, any tax stamp or meter impression to a
package of cigarettes, or pay the tax levied on a tobacco product defined under Section
30165.1 as a cigarette, unless the brand family of cigarettes or tobacco product, and the
tobacco product manufacturer that makes or sells the cigarettes or tobacco product, are
included on a compliance list posted by the Attorney General.
The Tobacco Directory Law also prohibits a person from:
•
Selling, offering, or possessing for sale in this state, or importing for personal
consumption in this state, cigarettes of a tobacco product manufacturer or brand
family not included in the Attorney General's directory, and
•
Selling, distributing, acquiring, holding, owning, possessing, transporting, importing,
or causing to be imported cigarettes that the person knows or should know are
intended to be distributed in violation of the Tobacco Directory’s stamping
prohibitions or are not included in the Attorney General's directory.
Section 30435 authorizes an employee of the BOE, upon presentation of the
appropriate identification and credentials, to enter into, and conduct an inspection of any
place for which there is evidence of failure to comply with the requirements of the MSA,
including, but not limited to, the Tobacco Directory Law. Any cigarette or tobacco
products that are stamped or to which a meter impression is affixed, or for which tax is
paid, in violation of the Tobacco Directory Law, is subject to seizure and forfeiture,
pursuant to Section 30436 regardless of whether the violation is subject to a defense,
as provided. The seized cigarettes or tobacco products are forfeited to the state and
must be destroyed.
Cigarette and Tobacco Products Licensing Act of 2003 (Licensing Act). Division
8.6 of the Business and Professions Code established the Licensing Act, which created
a statewide licensure program for the sales of cigarettes and tobacco products to
address the unlawful distribution and untaxed sales of cigarettes and tobacco products.
In part, Sections 22979 and 22979.21 require every manufacturer and every importer to
obtain and maintain a license to engage in the sale of cigarettes or tobacco products. In
order to be eligible for a license, a manufacturer or importer is required to meet
specified requirements, such as consenting to jurisdiction of the California courts for the
purpose of enforcement of the Licensing Act, appoint a registered agent for service of
process in this state, and identify the registered agent to the BOE.
The Licensing Act also authorizes, pursuant to Section 22980, any peace officer or BOE
employee granted limited peace officer status to enter any place, as described, and
conduct inspections. In part, inspections may be at any place at which cigarettes or
tobacco products are sold, produced, or stored, or at any site where evidence of
activities involving evasion of cigarette or tobacco products may be discovered.
The Licensing Act also imposes specified prohibitions and penalties in Business and
Professions Code Sections 22980.1 through 22982.
Among the prohibitions,
subdivision (g) of Section 22980.1 provides that no importer, distributor, or wholesaler,
or distributor functioning as a wholesaler, or retailer, shall purchase, obtain, or otherwise
acquire any package of cigarettes to which a stamp or meter impression may not be
affixed in accordance with the Tax Law, or any cigarette obtained from a manufacturer
or importer that cannot demonstrate full compliance with all requirements of the federal
This staff analysis is provided to address various administrative, cost, revenue and policy
issues; it is not to be construed to reflect or suggest the BOE’s formal position.
Assembly Bill 2496 (Nava)
Page 4
Cigarette Labeling and Advertising Act (15 U.S.C. Sec. 13335a et seq.) for the reporting
of ingredients added to cigarettes. Section 22981 provides that any violation of the
Licensing Act by any person, except as otherwise provided, is a misdemeanor. Each
offense is punishable by a fine not to exceed five thousand dollars ($5,000), or
imprisonment not exceeding one year in a county jail, or both the fine and
imprisonment.
Federal Jenkins Act. Chapter 10A of Title 15 of the United States Code (also known
as the Jenkins Act) requires any person that sells, transfers, or ships cigarettes or
smokeless tobacco for profit in interstate commerce and ships the cigarettes or
smokeless tobacco into a state that imposes a tax on cigarettes or smokeless tobacco
to:
•
File with the Attorney General and the state’s tobacco tax administrator a statement
setting forth certain information, including name, address and telephone number.
•
Not later than the 10th of each calendar month, file with the tobacco tax
administrator a memorandum or a copy of the invoice for each and every shipment
of cigarettes or smokeless tobacco made during the previous calendar month in that
state. This information is required to show, among other things, the name and
address of the person to whom the shipment was made, the brand, and quantity of
the shipment.
The Jenkins Act also requires each delivery seller to comply with specified shipping
(labeling requirements, weight restrictions, age verification) and recordkeeping
requirements, all State, local, tribal, and other laws generally applicable to sales of
cigarettes or smokeless tobacco as if the delivery sales occurred entirely within the
state, and tax collection requirements. A delivery seller is defined as any person who
makes a sale of cigarettes or smokeless tobacco to a consumer if: (1) the consumer
submits the order by telephone or other method of voice transmission, mail, Internet or
other online service, or the seller is otherwise not in the physical presence of the buyer
when the request for purchase is made, and (2) the cigarettes or smokeless tobacco are
delivered to the buyer by common carrier, private delivery service, or other method of
remote delivery, or the seller is not in the physical presence of the buyer when the buyer
obtains possession of the cigarettes or smokeless tobacco.
The Jenkins Act was recently amended by S. 1147, known at the Prevent All Cigarette
Trafficking Act or PACT Act. The PACT Act became operative July 1, 2010 and
expanded the Jenkins Act to include smokeless tobacco and incorporated “delivery
seller” provisions, which among other things require delivery sellers to comply with the
state’s laws imposing excise taxes, licensing, and stamping requirements.
PROPOSED LAW
Among other things, this bill makes changes to the Licensing Act and Tax Law to
enhance enforcement of the MSA and subsequent legislation (Model Statute and
Tobacco Directory Law).
Licensing Act. This bill would amend Business and Professions Code Section 22979
to require a manufacturer or importer to consent to the jurisdiction of the California
courts and waive any sovereign immunity defense for the purpose of enforcement of the
Model Statute and the Tobacco Directory Law and regulations adopted pursuant
thereto. In lieu of waiving any sovereign immunity defense, a manufacturer or importer
This staff analysis is provided to address various administrative, cost, revenue and policy
issues; it is not to be construed to reflect or suggest the BOE’s formal position.
Assembly Bill 2496 (Nava)
Page 5
would be allowed to file with the Attorney General a surety bond written in favor of the
state of California and conditioned on the performance by the manufacturer or importer
of all its duties and obligations under the Licensing Act, Model Statute, and the Tax
Law, and the regulations adopted thereto.
This bill would also amend Section 22980 to allow any peace officer or BOE employee
granted limited peace officer status, upon presentation of appropriate credentials, to
enter any site where evidence of activities involving violations of the Tobacco Directory
Law may be discovered. Such inspections must be performed in a reasonable manner
and at times that are reasonable under the circumstances, taking into consideration the
normal business hours of the place to be entered.
And lastly, this bill would amend Section 22980.1 to prohibit an importer, distributor,
wholesaler, distributor functioning as a wholesaler, or retailer from purchasing,
obtaining, or otherwise acquiring any package of cigarettes to which a stamp or meter
impression may not be affixed in accordance with the Tobacco Directory Law.
Tax Law. This bill would amend Section 30101.7 to prohibit a person from making a
delivery sale of cigarettes or tobacco products, as defined, to a consumer in California
unless the delivery seller fully complies with the Jenkins Act, obtains and maintains a
Licensing Act license, complies with the Model Statute, and reports its delivery sales to
the Attorney General. The BOE would be authorized to provide to the Attorney General
information relative to a seller’s failure or attempt to comply with the PACT Act and the
Jenkins Act. The bill provides that the BOE would be required to enforce only the
licensing and tax provisions of Section 30101.7.
The bill would also make numerous amendments to Section 30165.1, the Tobacco
Directory Law. Those amendments impacting the BOE’s administration of the Tax Law
are as follows:
•
Requires a distributor or wholesaler, within seven days of receiving (1) a notice of
pending administrative action, (2) a notice of removal of any tobacco product
manufacturer or brand family from the Tobacco Directory, or (3) a notice declining to
remove a tobacco product manufacturer or brand family from the directory, to
provide a copy of the notice to each of its existing customers. A licensed distributor
and wholesaler could continue to purchase, stamp (distributor), or sell products
affected by the notice of pending administrative action for no more than 40 days
following the issuance of that notice.
A licensed retailer would be provided a 60 day period from the effective date of the
manufacturer or brand family’s removal from the directory to possess, transport, and
sell the affected tax-stamped cigarettes. On and after the 61st day, the cigarettes
are contraband and become subject to seizure and destruction by the BOE.
•
Expands the prohibition for any person selling, offering, or possessing for sale in this
state or import for personal consumption in this state, to also include shipping or
otherwise distributing into or within this state, cigarettes of a tobacco product
manufacturer or brand family not included in the directory.
•
Expands from a distributor to any person the imposition of penalties for violating the
Tobacco Directory Law. In the case of the first offense, the BOE would be
authorized to revoke or suspend the license or licenses issued to the person by the
BOE. In addition to distributors, this amendment would now subject wholesalers and
This staff analysis is provided to address various administrative, cost, revenue and policy
issues; it is not to be construed to reflect or suggest the BOE’s formal position.
Assembly Bill 2496 (Nava)
Page 6
retailers to license revocation and suspension. And the licenses subject to
suspension and revocation would be expanded from licenses issued to distributors
and wholesalers under the Tax Law to also include a retailer, distributor and
wholesaler licenses issued under the Licensing Act. In the case of a second or any
subsequent offense, the BOE would be authorized to impose a civil penalty in an
amount not to exceed the greater of five times the retail value of the cigarettes, as
defined, or five thousand dollars ($5,000).
This bill would also add Section 30165.2 to the Revenue and Taxation Code to require
as a condition of selling cigarettes in the state, every tobacco product manufacturer, as
defined in the Tobacco Directory Law, whose cigarettes are to be sold in the state
whether directly or through a distributor, importer, retailer, or similar intermediary or
intermediaries to, at the election of the tobacco product manufacturer, either:
•
Submit to the Attorney General a true and correct copy of each and every applicable
return of the tobacco product manufacturer.
•
Submit to the United States Treasury a request or consent under Internal Revenue
Code Section 6103(c) authorizing the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau to
disclose the applicable returns of manufacturer to the Attorney General.
A foreign tobacco product manufacturer whose cigarettes are imported into the United
States by an importer or importers would be required to submit, or cause each of its
importers to submit, to the Attorney General and the BOE each and every applicable
return, form, or report filed with the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax Trade Bureau and the
United States Customs and Border Patrol that includes any information about cigarettes
of that foreign tobacco product manufacturer imported into the United States, and a
report of the sales of each brand family in this state, as specified. The Attorney General
and the BOE would be prohibited from disclosing any applicable returns or any
information contained therein, except as necessary to carry out the functions and duties
of the Department of Justice or BOE, or as otherwise provided.
A tobacco product manufacturer who does not comply with the above requirements
would, after 30 days notice by the state to the tobacco product manufacturer of the
failure to comply, be removed, along with its brand families, from the tobacco directory
unless the tobacco product manufacturer has brought itself into compliance by the end
of the 30-day period.
Any tobacco manufacturer or importer that intentionally provides any applicable return
containing materially false information shall be liable for a civil penalty in an amount not
to exceed the greater of either of the following:
•
Five times the retail value of the cigarettes or tobacco products defined as
cigarettes under this section and about which false information was provided.
•
Five thousand dollars ($5,000).
The Attorney General would be authorized to promulgate regulations to implement and
carry out proposed Section 30165.2.
Tax Law. This measure also includes Legislative declarations and findings that provide
the following:
•
Cigarette smoking and tobacco products present serious public health concerns to
the state and to the citizens of the state.
This staff analysis is provided to address various administrative, cost, revenue and policy
issues; it is not to be construed to reflect or suggest the BOE’s formal position.
Assembly Bill 2496 (Nava)
Page 7
•
Cheap cigarettes and tobacco products are being made available through the
evasion of state taxes, fees, payments, and deposits required for sales of cigarettes
and tobacco products in this state.
•
Cheap cigarettes and tobacco products pose a public health hazard because their
lower price makes them more accessible and affordable to youth to become
addicted to smoking and tobacco products.
•
It is the policy of the state to require that cigarettes and tobacco products be sold at
prices that reflect the payment of all state taxes, fees, payments, and deposits
required by law on sales of cigarettes and tobacco products in this state in order to
prevent the public health hazard posed by cheap cigarettes and tobacco products,
especially to our youth.
This bill would become effective January 1, 2011.
IN GENERAL
Under the November 1998 MSA between the State of California, other states, and
tobacco product manufacturers, each tobacco company must make annual payments to
the participating states in perpetuity, totaling an estimated $206 billion through 2025.
California’s share of the revenue is projected to be $25 billion over the next 25 years,
based on receiving approximately 12.8% of the total payments. The payments will be
split 50/50 between state and local governments under a Memorandum of
Understanding negotiated by the Attorney General and various local jurisdictions (cities
and counties) which had also sued the tobacco companies.
The payment provisions of the MSA apply to “participating manufacturers” which include
both original signatories to the MSA, as well as other companies which subsequently
agree to be bound by the MSA. In return for these payments, the states have agreed to
release the cigarette manufacturers from all claims for damages, penalties, and fines.
In addition, the participating manufacturers have agreed to certain non-economic terms
that restrict their advertising and marketing practices and control their corporate
behavior. The primary purpose of these restrictions is to prevent marketing of cigarettes
to minors and thereby reduce smoking by minors.
The MSA prompted states to enact the Model Statute by creating a significant financial
incentive: Settling States that enact and “diligently enforce” the Model Statute would not
be subject to severe reductions to their MSA payments. All Settling States have
enacted Model Statutes requiring NPM reserve (escrow) funds, including California.
California’s "Model Statute" was enacted in 1999 pursuant to Senate Bill 822 (Escutia,
Chapter 780). That bill, among other things, authorized the BOE to adopt any
regulations necessary to ascertain, based on the amount of state excise tax paid on
cigarettes, the number of tax paid cigarettes sold by tobacco products manufacturers
who do not participate in the MSA.
While the Settling States, such as California, have been aggressively enforcing the
provisions of the Model Statutes, enforcement has proved costly and cumbersome.
Accordingly, almost every state has enacted Complementary Legislation to make state
enforcement of the Model Statutes more effective and thereby promote the purposes for
which the Model Statutes were enacted.
This staff analysis is provided to address various administrative, cost, revenue and policy
issues; it is not to be construed to reflect or suggest the BOE’s formal position.
Assembly Bill 2496 (Nava)
Page 8
In 2003, California enacted Complementary Legislation (Tobacco Directory Law)
pursuant to Assembly Bill 71 (Horton, Chapter 890). Generally, these statutes:
• Require the Attorney General to develop and publish on its Internet web site a
directory of all tobacco manufacturers that have provided current, timely, and
accurate certifications that certify the tobacco manufacturer is either a participating
manufacturer under the MSA, or is a NPM that has made all required escrow
payments, and all brand families that are listed in the certifications, except as
specified.
• Prohibit a person from affixing, or cause to be affixed, any tax stamp or meter
impression to a package of cigarettes, or pay the tax levied on a tobacco product
defined as a cigarette, unless the brand family of cigarettes or tobacco product, and
the tobacco product manufacturer that makes or sells the cigarettes or tobacco
product, are included on a compliance list posted by the Attorney General.
• Subject violators, principally manufacturers and distributors, to civil and criminal
penalties and license suspension or revocation.
COMMENTS
1. Sponsor and purpose. The bill is sponsored by the Attorney General and is
intended to allow for better enforcement of Internet and other delivery sales of
cigarettes and tobacco products in this state, strengthen the Attorney General’s and
BOE’s ability to diligently enforce the Model Statute and Tobacco Directory Law, and
to provide retailers relief of any financial hardship resulting from cigarettes and
tobacco product inventory that immediately becomes illegal to sell upon removal
from the Tobacco Directory.
2. Summary of amendments. The August 18, 2010 amendments, among other
things, (1) provided that surety bonds required in lieu of a sovereign immunity
defense or for elevated-risk nonparticipating manufacturers would be filed with the
Attorney General, (2) clarified the BOE’s role with respect to delivery sales, (3)
aligned the allowable actions by a retailer during the sell-off period with the
prohibitions, (4) revised the findings and declarations, and (5) made other clarifying,
non-substantive technical changes. The amendments also added double jointing
language to prevent chaptering out the amendments to Business and Professions
Code Section 22979, which is also proposed to be amended by AB 2733 (Ruskin), in
the event both AB 2733 and AB 2496 are enacted. The July 15, 2010
amendments related to the BOE (1) allowed a manufacturer or importer to post a
surety bond in lieu of waiving sovereign immunity and remove the requirement to
provide a copy of any corresponding federal permit for purposes of granting or
maintaining a Licensing Act license, (2) made a manufacturer or importer license
subject to revocation if the licensee raises a sovereign immunity defense, (3)
incorporated the delivery sales provisions into existing face-to-face sale provisions,
(4) revised the notification provisions for pending administrative action and removal
from the Tobacco Directory, and (5) deleted the provisions that would have
expanded the BOE’s seizure authority. The May 20, 2010 amendments made
corrections to the Legislative Counsel’s Digest and other non-substantive changes.
The May 13, 2010 amendments, among other things, (1) clarified that the Attorney
General shall transmit a written notice of a tobacco manufacturer or brand family
removed from the Tobacco Directory to each licensed wholesaler, (2) deleted the
This staff analysis is provided to address various administrative, cost, revenue and policy
issues; it is not to be construed to reflect or suggest the BOE’s formal position.
Assembly Bill 2496 (Nava)
Page 9
refund provisions for distributors, wholesalers, and retailers in possession of
removed cigarettes on the effective date of their removal from the directory, (3)
required foreign tobacco product manufacturers, or their importers, to submit each
and every applicable return, as defined, to the Board, and (4) made changes to the
delivery sales order provisions, such as removing references to "track and trace"
and revising definitions. The April 14, 2010 amendments, among other things, (1)
added additional manufacturer and importer requirements to obtain and maintain a
Licensing Act license, (2) deleted the requirement for an appropriate stamp or meter
impression to be made upon any rolls of tobacco described as a little cigar, (3)
required the BOE to file a lien for a tax penalty in the same amount as the unpaid
refund against, and to revoke the Licensing Act license of, a manufacturer, importer,
distributor or wholesaler that fails to provide a refund of all moneys paid for product
removed from the Tobacco Directory, (4) incorporated delivery seller provisions for
specified non-face-to-face sales of cigarettes or tobacco products to a consumer,
and (5) expanded the cigarettes subject to seizure by the BOE and forfeiture to the
state to include packages that fail to meet the marking, labeling, and stamping
requirements or provide or affix the information in the manner specified.
3. What is the BOE’s enforcement role for the Model Statute? The BOE has
several responsibilities with respect to “diligent enforcement” of the Model Statute,
which protects the state’s approximately $900 million annual revenue payment
stream from the MSA. The BOE’s enforcement role, which coincidences with
administration of the Tax Law, is as follows:
•
The Model Statute requires NPMs to place into a qualified escrow fund by every
April 15 an amount, as specified, based on units sold during the previous year.
“Units sold” is generally defined to mean the number of individual cigarettes sold
in the state by the applicable tobacco product manufacturer as measured by
excise taxes collected by the state on packs bearing the excise tax stamp of the
state. The BOE is authorized to adopt any regulations necessary to ascertain,
based on the amount of state excise tax paid on cigarettes, the number of tax
paid cigarettes sold by NPMs.
As a result of this provision, the BOE provides the Attorney General with annual
statistics of cigarettes sold in California by NPMs. The BOE compiles this
information measured by the excise tax reported to the BOE, which is adjusted
by BOE staff to remove brands that are considered a “cigarette” for tax purposes,
but not for purposes of the Model Statute.
•
The Tobacco Directory Law prohibits a distributor from affixing a tax stamp to a
package of cigarettes, or paying the tax on a tobacco product defined as a
cigarette, unless the brand family of cigarettes or tobacco product, and the
tobacco product manufacturer that makes or sells the cigarettes or tobacco
product, are included on Tobacco Directory 2 . A violation of this prohibition could
result in the revocation or suspension of the license or licenses of the distributor
and/or a civil penalty and subject such products to seizure and forfeiture by the
BOE.
2
Tobacco products commonly known as "'little cigars" currently do not have to be listed in the tobacco directory in
order to be lawfully sold in California. The AG may decide in the future to require that certain brands of little cigars be
listed in this Directory.
This staff analysis is provided to address various administrative, cost, revenue and policy
issues; it is not to be construed to reflect or suggest the BOE’s formal position.
Assembly Bill 2496 (Nava)
Page 10
•
The Licensing Act requires every manufacturer or importer required to obtain and
maintain a license to engage in the sale of cigarettes. In order to be eligible to
obtain and maintain a license, a manufacturer or importer that is a “tobacco
products manufacturer” pursuant to the Model Statute must 1) certify to the BOE
that it is a “participating manufacturer” or is in compliance with the Model Statute,
and 2) submit to the BOE a list of all its brand families. AB 71 also gave the
authority to the BOE to revoke or suspend the license of a distributor for selling
product not listed on the California Tobacco Directory.
•
The Tax Law allows an employee of the BOE, upon presentation of the
appropriate identification and credentials, is authorized to enter into, and conduct
an inspection of, any building, facility, site, or place, for which there is evidence of
the failure to comply with the requirements of the Model Statute or the Tobacco
Directory Law. The Tax Law also authorizes the BOE to seize cigarettes or
tobacco products to which a tax stamp is affixed, or tax paid, in violation of the
Tobacco Directory.
4. Should the Tobacco Directory Law and related enforcement provisions be in
the Tax Law? Revenue and Taxation Code Section 30451 requires the BOE to
enforce the provisions of the Tax Law. The Tobacco Directory Law was added to
the Tax Law in 2003 pursuant to AB 71 (Ch. 890, J. Horton). Although the Tobacco
Directory Law contains mostly non-tax provisions enforced by the Attorney General,
it also includes provisions that appropriately tie-in with the Tax Law enforced by the
BOE.
However, this bill proposes to expand the Tobacco Directory Law, much of it
unrelated to the BOE’s enforcement and administration of the Tax Law. Since the
Tobacco Directory Law is primarily related to enforcement of the Model Statute, it is
suggested that the bill be amended to place the Tobacco Directory Law in the Health
and Safety Code along with the Model Statute, which is located in Article 3
(commencing with Section 104555), Chapter 1, Part 3, Division 103 of the Health
and Safety Code. It is further suggested that the current BOE Tobacco Directory
Law responsibilities, which are tax-related, remain in the Tax Law.
In addition to maintaining only tax-related provisions within the Tax Law, these
suggested amendments would more clearly define the BOE’s and Attorney
General‘s role for enforcement of the Model Statute and funding for those costs.
Funding under the Tax Law is provided by the cigarette and tobacco products tax
funds, specifically, the General Fund, Breast Cancer Fund, Cigarette and Tobacco
Products Surtax Fund (Proposition 99), and the California Children and Families
Trust Fund (Proposition 10).
5. Notification of brand family or manufacturer removal from the Tobacco
Directory. Under current law, cigarettes or tobacco products to which a tax stamp is
affixed, or for which tax is paid, is subject to seizure and forfeiture by the BOE at the
time the manufacturer or any of its brand families are removed from the tobacco
directory. When a manufacturer or brand family is removed from the Tobacco
Directory, only distributors are notified of the removal by e-mail. Wholesalers and
retailers must check the Tobacco Directory, which is located on the Attorney
General’s website, for recent changes to the directory, such as removals. As such,
wholesalers and retailers are typically not aware that a manufacturer or a brand
family has been removed from the directory when found by BOE inspectors to be
This staff analysis is provided to address various administrative, cost, revenue and policy
issues; it is not to be construed to reflect or suggest the BOE’s formal position.
Assembly Bill 2496 (Nava)
Page 11
selling, offering, or possessing for sale removed product. Cigarettes and tobacco
products of a manufacturer or its brand families become illegal to sell, offer, or
possess for sale upon removal from the Tobacco Directory, and are subject to
seizure and forfeiture to the state.
To provide better notification of any action taken against manufacturers or brand
families, this bill would require the Attorney General to provide notice to distributors
and wholesalers of a pending administrative action, if the Attorney General declines
to remove a manufacturer or brand family, or removal of a manufacturer or brand
family from the directory, and within seven days of receiving such a notice from the
Attorney General, to provide each existing customer with a copy of that notice. This
provision is intended to ensure that all sellers receive a copy of the notices;
however, there is no specific penalty or enforcement action for a distributor or
wholesaler that fails to provide a copy of the removal notice to existing customers.
But even with proper notice of such removal, it is a financial hardship on retailers
who have an inventory of the removed products that they can no longer sell. To
address this hardship, this bill would provide a licensed retailer a 60 day “sell off
period” from the effective date of the removal notice to sell the affected tax-stamped
product. A licensed retailer would also be allowed to possess and transport the
removed product during that 60 day period.
6. Penalty expanded beyond distributor for violations. Under existing law, the
Tobacco Directory, pursuant to Section 30165.1(i), imposes civil or criminal penalties
upon a distributor for violations of the Tobacco Directory and authorizes the BOE to
suspend or revoke the distributor’s license. This bill would expand those penalties to
any person for violations, including all license holders (manufacturer, importer,
distributor, wholesaler, and retailer). It also expands the licenses subject to
suspension or revocation to include those issued under the Tax Law.
The expanded penalty provisions would also include consumers who purchase
and/or import cigarettes not appearing on the directory, which could be tracked and
enforced through the BOE’s Cigarette and Tobacco Product Internet Program. That
program focuses on the collection of California state excise taxes and use taxes
from California consumers purchasing untaxed cigarettes and/or tobacco products
from out-of-state Internet retailers, and/or by way of mail or telephone, for selfconsumption in California.
7. Suggested amendments. BOE staff has suggested to the sponsor the following
clarifying amendments:
•
Tax Law Section 30101.7. This section contains a definition for the term
“interstate commerce” that is not referenced within the section and therefore
appears unnecessary. In addition, the term “Indian country” is only referenced
within the definition of “interstate commence” and appears unnecessary as well.
•
Tax Law Section 30165.1(c)(3). This paragraph, in part, requires that the
Attorney General notify all licensed distributors and wholesalers of its
recommendation to remove a manufacturer or brand family from the Tobacco
Directory for cause. The distributor and wholesaler would be allowed to continue
purchasing, stamping (distributor), and selling products subject to action for no
more than 40 days following issuance of the notice of pending administrative
action. Is it possible for the Attorney General action to remove or decline to
This staff analysis is provided to address various administrative, cost, revenue and policy
issues; it is not to be construed to reflect or suggest the BOE’s formal position.
Assembly Bill 2496 (Nava)
Page 12
remove a manufacturer or brand family to take more than 40 days? If
administrative action exceeds that 40 day period, a distributor and wholesaler
would be prohibited from purchasing, stamping, and selling products prior to a
final determination by the Attorney General. What if the Attorney General
ultimately declines to remove the manufacturer or brand family from the directory
after the 40 day period has elapsed?
COST ESTIMATE
The BOE would incur administrative costs related to revising Licensing Act application
forms for manufacturers and importers, issuing citations to licensees for purchasing,
obtaining or otherwise acquiring cigarettes stamped in violation of the Tobacco
Directory law, and for additional cigarette and tobacco products seizures. These costs
are estimated to be minor and absorbable.
REVENUE ESTIMATE
This bill may have a positive impact on the state excise tax collected on sales of
cigarettes and tobacco products and also on use tax collected on cigarettes and
tobacco products purchased from out-of-state retailers. However, the BOE has no way
of measuring the potential impact these provisions may have, and therefore, cannot
provide an estimate at this time.
Analysis prepared by:
Contact:
ls
Cindy Wilson
Margaret S. Shedd
916-445-6036
916-322-2376
08/31/10
2496-enr.doc
This staff analysis is provided to address various administrative, cost, revenue and policy
issues; it is not to be construed to reflect or suggest the BOE’s formal position.
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