State Targets Internet Cigarette Sales

Feb 17, 2004
George Anderson

By George Anderson

Massachusetts is looking to reclaim monies it says it is owed by consumers who have ordered cigarettes online to avoid paying the state’s $1.51 per pack tax.

According to a report by Bruce Mohl in the Boston Globe, states are estimated to be losing as much as $1.5 billion annually as consumers use the Internet to by-pass tax mechanisms.

In Massachusetts, for example, the lowest priced carton of Marlboro sells for $45.86.

The same carton, purchased online at, retails for $31.19 plus shipping. Even with shipping added in, approximately $7 for up to 10 cartons, Marlboros sold online are still cheaper than those purchased from a store in Boston, Springfield or any place else in Massachusetts.

Moderator’s Comment: Is it time for Internet sales to be taxed the same as those made
in physical stores?

The Internet needed a moratorium on paying taxes to encourage shopping and establish the channel. That’s been done and now it’s time to level the playing
field even in frequent online shoppers like us wind up paying more as a result.
Anderson – Moderator

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