Cigarette tax

Department of Revenue and Liquor and Cannabis Board - Joint duties

The statutory duties applicable to administration and enforcement of the cigarette tax are divided between the Department of Revenue and the Liquor and Cannabis Board. Enforcement of nonvoluntary compliance is the responsibility of the Liquor and Cannabis Board. Voluntary compliance is the responsibility of the Department of Revenue.

Generally, the sales of cigarettes to nonmembers by Indians or Indian tribes are subject to the cigarette tax. Typically, the wholesaler pre-collects the tax. In the case of sales by tribal smoke shops, the Indian retailer is legally required to collect the tax from the customer.

Therefore, Indian or tribal sellers making sales to non-Indian customers are required by law to meet one of the following:

  • Purchase a stock of cigarettes with Washington state cigarette tax stamps affixed for the purpose of making such sales.
  • They may make purchases of cigarettes from licensed cigarette distributors for resale to qualified purchasers.
  • May purchase a stock of untaxed unstamped cigarettes for resale to qualified purchasers if the tribal seller gives advance notice under RCW 82.24.250 and WAC 458-20-186.

Qualified purchaser: means an Indian purchasing for resale within Indian country to other Indians or an Indian purchasing solely for his or her use other than for resale.

Where sales of cigarettes are the subject of a government-to-government cooperative agreement, including cigarette tax compacts, the provisions of that agreement supersede conflicting provisions of this subsection.

Tribal Member Claim for Refund of Washington Cigarette Taxes Paid