2004-01-30 / Community

Weiner: Penalize On-Line Cigarette Dealers

Weiner: Penalize On-Line Cigarette Dealers

Representative Anthony Weiner, a Member of the House Judiciary Com mittee, has introduced legislation to stop online cigarette retailers from cheating New York City out of millions of dollars. The City loses an estimated $50 million a year in revenue from uncollected taxes generated from online cigarette sales.

Every year, millions of packs of cigarettes are sold online.A0 Online retailers are supposed to send New York City $1.50 in sales tax for every pack sold to City residents.

According to a study conducted by the Government Accounting Office (GAO), online sellers aren’t paying their sales taxes.A0 The cost to New York City:A0 an estimated $50 million a year in lost tax revenue.A0

Weiner’s legislation-the Local Government Internet Tobacco Sales Enforcement Act—would give New York City a cause of action to pursue civil penalties against online retailers who fail to pay.A0 Under the bill, retailers would be subject to up to a $5,000 fine for the first transaction, and up to a $10,000 fine for every transaction thereafter on which they fail to pay their tax.

"Letting online cigarettes retailers evade the sales tax puts brick and mortar sellers at a competitive disadvantage and is unfair to consumers who lack internet access," said Rep. Weiner.A0 "The City should be able to go after these online scofflaws."

Once again, the price of cigarettes creates a controversy inNew York.

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