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Tazewell County supervisors approve cigarette tax

Tazewell County supervisors approve cigarette tax

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Tazewell, Va. – Smokers will pay $0.25 per pack more for cigarettes in Tazewell County starting Jan. 1 2022.

The board of supervisors approved that as its cigarette tax rate by a vote of 4-0 with Mike Hymes abstaining during its Aug. 3 meeting.  They had advertised for a rate of, $.02 per cigarette or $0.40 per pack and held a public hearing on it June 1.

Mike Davidson, a merchant in the Bluefield area presented data at the public hearing showing 611,000 cartons of cigarettes sold in the county last year. County Administrator Eric Young said he was able to determine 406,000 of those cartons were sold in the towns which already tax cigarettes.

The funds from the tax will be used to fund the county’s emergency services program.  County Administrator Eric Young said the rate should net the county $500,000 per year after the cost of printing stamps and enforcement are deducted.

County Attorney Chase Collins said the only exception to the tax would be tobacco used by people to roll their own cigarettes.  Collins said there is no way to account for it with stamps and the wholesalers said it is only one to two percent of total sales.

Collins said the law requires the tax to be per cigarette and asked that the ordinance say “at an effective rate to equal $0.25 per pack.’ The rate will apply only to establishments outside the incorporated towns in the county. Each town has its own cigarette tax.

 Cigarette packages will have a stamp placed on them indicating where they were sold and that will be used by the county to determine the amount of tax owed. Sheriff Brian Hieatt has assigned an officer to make sure the taxes are paid properly.

The supervisors discussed the issues for two months before voting to institute the tax. “No one likes to raise taxes but in this case we have to make sure if there is an emergency we can take care of it,’ Board Chairman Tom Lester said.

Young said the tax will only be in effect for half of this fiscal year and net the county $250,000. The county used a portion of its American Recovery Funds for EMS this year.

 The tax does not apply to vaping products. The state levies a tax of 6.6 cents per milliter on those items.

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