Cigarette tax loophole goes up in smoke
A loophole that has allowed some to escape Utah's high cigarette tax went up in smoke Wednesday.
The House voted 60-10 to pass SB36, and sent it to Gov. Gary Herbert for his signature. It will begin taxing cigarettes that are made by any rolling machines capable of making 150 cigarettes in less than 30 minutes.
The bill's sponsor, Sen. Wayne Harper, R-Taylorsville, has said some who own such machines make cigarettes not only for themselves, but often to sell to friends, family and others. "We have a loophole where some of these are escaping regulation, escaping taxation," he said earlier in the Senate.
Rep. Paul Ray, R-Clearfield, the House sponsor of the bill, said few such machines now exist in Utah. But he said they have been appearing in big numbers elsewhere, and Utah wants to be ready for them if their numbers grow here.
Utah charges a cigarette tax of $1.70 per pack. That tax was more than doubled in 2010 from 69.5 cents.