Taxes in New York have made national news in recent years because of some eye-catching laws. New York State taxes cigarettes, for example, at the highest rate in the country among states; New York City adds on additional tax on top of that. Thus, it can be tempting for some people to try to get around these tax issues by finding cheaper cigarettes from other jurisdictions.
However, this is not merely difficult, it is also illegal. Cigarette packs sold in New York must have a tax stamp from our state. Having unstamped cigarettes — or those that bear the stamp of another state — is a violation taken very seriously by the state taxation department.
Recently, a man in Brooklyn found this out for himself when he was arrested for possessing and selling untaxed cigarettes. In addition to allegedly having cigarettes that had no state stamps, officials said the man was selling cigarettes bearing the stamps of Virginia and Georgia — states with cigarette tax rates of 0.30 and 0.37 percent, respectively. By contrast, New York’s state tax rate is 4.35 percent.
The man is next due to appear in court next month. He faces three felonies and one misdemeanor charge for selling the illicit tobacco products. Officials also seized nearly $1,200 in proceeds from the sales.
Running afoul of tax authorities, whether they are from the federal or state governments, can be very stressful. An experienced tax attorney can help to defend a client who faces charges of defrauding tax-collecting agencies.