1. The Laws of New York
  2. Consolidated Laws
  3. Tax
  4. Article 20: Tax On Cigarettes and Tobacco Products


Section 481 Penalties and interest

Tax (TAX)

1. (a)(i)(A) An agent or distributor or other person treated as a distributor pursuant to section four hundred seventy-one-d who or which fails to file a return or to pay any tax within the time required by or pursuant to this article (determined with regard to any extension of time for filing or paying) shall be subject to a penalty of ten per centum of the amount of tax determined to be due as provided in this article plus one per centum of such amount for each month or fraction thereof during which such failure continues after the expiration of the first month after such return was required to be filed or such tax became due, not exceeding thirty per centum in the aggregate.

  (B) If a tax on cigarettes or on tobacco products under this article is not paid when due by any other person, the person liable for the payment of such tax shall be subject to a penalty of fifty per centum of the amount of such tax determined to be due as provided in this article plus one per centum of such amount for each month or fraction thereof during which such failure to pay continues after the expiration of the first month after such tax became due.

  (C) In the case of a failure to file such return within sixty days of the date prescribed for filing of such return by or pursuant to this article (determined with regard to any extension of time for filing), the penalty imposed by this paragraph shall not be less than the lesser of one hundred dollars or one hundred per centum of the amount required to be shown as tax on such return. For the purpose of the preceding sentence, the amount of tax required to be shown on the return shall be reduced by the amount of any part of the tax which is paid on or before the date prescribed for payment of the tax and by the amount of any credit against the tax which may be claimed upon the return.

  (ii) If any amount of tax is not paid on or before the last date prescribed in this article for payment, interest on such amount at the underpayment rate set by the commissioner of taxation and finance pursuant to subdivision twenty-sixth of section one hundred seventy-one of this chapter shall be paid for the period from such last date to the date paid, whether or not any extension of time for payment was granted. Interest under this subparagraph shall not be paid if the amount thereof is less than one dollar.

  (iii) If the tax commission determines that such failure or delay was due to reasonable cause and not due to willful neglect, it shall remit all or part of such penalty. The tax commission shall promulgate rules and regulations as to what constitutes reasonable cause.

  (iv) If the failure to pay any tax within the time required by or pursuant to this article is due to fraud, in lieu of the penalties and interest provided for in subparagraphs (i) and (ii) of this paragraph, there shall be added to the tax (A) a penalty of two times the amount of tax due, plus (B) interest on such unpaid tax at the underpayment rate set by the commissioner of taxation and finance pursuant to subdivision twenty-sixth of section one hundred seventy-one of this chapter for the period beginning on the last day prescribed by this article for the payment of such tax (determined without regard to any extension of time for paying) and ending on the day on which such tax is paid.

  (v) The penalties and interest provided for in this paragraph shall be determined, assessed, collected and paid in the same manner as the taxes imposed by this article and shall be disposed of as hereinafter provided with respect to moneys derived from the tax. Interest under this paragraph shall be compounded daily.

  (b) (i) In addition to any other penalty imposed by this article, the commissioner may (A) impose a penalty of not more than six hundred dollars for each two hundred cigarettes, or fraction thereof, in excess of one thousand cigarettes in unstamped or unlawfully stamped packages in the possession or under the control of any person or (B) impose a penalty of not more than two hundred dollars for each ten unaffixed false, altered or counterfeit cigarette tax stamps, imprints or impressions, or fraction thereof, in the possession or under the control of any person. In addition, the commissioner may impose a penalty of not more than seventy-five dollars for each fifty cigars or one pound of tobacco, or fraction thereof, in excess of two hundred fifty cigars or five pounds of tobacco in the possession or under the control of any person and a penalty of not more than one hundred fifty dollars for each fifty cigars or pound of tobacco, or fraction thereof, in excess of five hundred cigars or ten pounds of tobacco in the possession or under the control of any person, with respect to which the tobacco products tax has not been paid or assumed by a distributor or tobacco products dealer; provided, however, that any such penalty imposed shall not exceed seven thousand five hundred dollars in the aggregate. The commissioner may impose a penalty of not more than seventy-five dollars for each fifty cigars or one pound of tobacco, or fraction thereof, in excess of fifty cigars or one pound of tobacco in the possession or under the control of any tobacco products dealer or distributor appointed by the commissioner, and a penalty of not more than one hundred fifty dollars for each fifty cigars or pound of tobacco, or fraction thereof, in excess of two hundred fifty cigars or five pounds of tobacco in the possession or under the control of any such dealer or distributor, with respect to which the tobacco products tax has not been paid or assumed by a distributor or a tobacco products dealer; provided, however, that any such penalty imposed shall not exceed fifteen thousand dollars in the aggregate.

  (ii) The penalties imposed by this subparagraph may be imposed by the commissioner in addition to any other penalty imposed by this article, but in lieu of the penalties imposed by subparagraph (i) of this paragraph:

  (A)(I)(1) not less than thirty dollars but not more than two hundred dollars for each two hundred cigarettes, or fraction thereof, in excess of one thousand cigarettes but less than or equal to five thousand cigarettes in unstamped or unlawfully stamped packages knowingly in the possession or knowingly under the control of any person or (2) not less than thirty dollars but not more than two hundred dollars for each ten unaffixed false, altered or counterfeit cigarette tax stamps, imprints or impressions, or fraction thereof, less than or equal to two hundred fifty unaffixed false, altered or counterfeit cigarette tax stamps, imprints or impressions, knowingly in the possession or knowing under the control of any person;

  (II)(1) not less than seventy-five dollars but not more than two hundred dollars for each two hundred cigarettes, or fraction thereof, in excess of five thousand cigarettes but less than or equal to twenty thousand cigarettes in unstamped or unlawfully stamped packages knowingly in the possession or knowingly under the control of any person or (2) not less than seventy-five dollars but not more than two hundred dollars for each ten unaffixed false, altered or counterfeit cigarette tax stamps, imprints or impressions, or fraction thereof, in excess of two hundred fifty unaffixed false, altered or counterfeit cigarette tax stamps, imprints or impressions but less than or equal to one thousand unaffixed false, altered or counterfeit cigarette tax stamps, imprints or impressions, knowingly in the possession or knowingly under the control of any person; and

  (III)(1) not less than one hundred dollars but not more than two hundred dollars for each two hundred cigarettes, or fraction thereof, in excess of twenty thousand cigarettes in unstamped or unlawfully stamped packages, knowingly in the possession or knowingly under the control of any person or (2) not less than one hundred dollars but not more than two hundred dollars for each ten unaffixed false, altered or counterfeit cigarette tax stamps, imprints or impressions, or fraction thereof, in excess of one thousand unaffixed false, altered or counterfeit cigarette tax stamps, imprints or impressions, knowingly in the possession or knowingly under the control of any person.

  (B)(I) not less than twenty-five dollars but not more than one hundred dollars for each fifty cigars or one pound of tobacco, or fraction thereof, in excess of two hundred fifty cigars or five pounds of tobacco knowingly in the possession or knowingly under the control of any person, with respect to which the tobacco products tax has not been paid or assumed by a distributor or tobacco products dealer; and

  (II) not less than fifty dollars but not more than two hundred dollars for each fifty cigars or pound of tobacco, or fraction thereof, in excess of five hundred cigars or ten pounds of tobacco knowingly in the possession or knowingly under the control of any person, with respect to which the tobacco products tax has not been paid or assumed by a distributor or tobacco products dealer; provided, however, that any such penalty imposed under this clause shall not exceed ten thousand dollars in the aggregate.

  (C)(I) not less than twenty-five dollars but not more than one hundred dollars for each fifty cigars or one pound of tobacco, or fraction thereof, in excess of fifty cigars or one pound of tobacco knowingly in the possession or knowingly under the control of any person, with respect to which the tobacco products tax has not been paid or assumed by a distributor or tobacco products dealer; and

  (II) not less than fifty dollars but not more than two hundred dollars for each fifty cigars or pound of tobacco, or fraction thereof, in excess of two hundred fifty cigars or five pounds of tobacco knowingly in the possession or knowingly under the control of any person, with respect to which the tobacco products tax has not been paid or assumed by a distributor or a tobacco products dealer; provided, however, that any such penalty imposed under this clause shall not exceed twenty thousand dollars in the aggregate.

  (iii) Any penalty provided for in this paragraph shall be determined as provided in section four hundred seventy-eight of this chapter, and may be reviewed only pursuant to such section. Such penalty shall be collected in the same manner as the taxes imposed by this article. The commissioner in the commissioner's discretion, may remit all or part of such penalty. Such penalty shall be paid to the department and disposed of as hereinafter provided with respect to moneys derived from the tax.

  (c) In addition to any other penalties that may be imposed by law, the commissioner may impose a civil penalty not to exceed five thousand dollars against any tobacco product manufacturer or cigarette tax agent who violates the provisions of section four hundred eighty-b of this article, including but not limited to the filing of a false certification, and may seek to suspend or cancel any license, registration or appointment which has been issued to such person pursuant to this chapter.

  (d) In addition to any other penalties that may be imposed by law, the commissioner may impose a civil penalty not to exceed five thousand dollars against any tobacco product manufacturer or distributor who violates the provisions of section four hundred eighty-c of this article, including but not limited to the filing of a false certification, and may seek to suspend or cancel any license, registration or appointment that has been issued to the tobacco product manufacturer or distributor under this chapter.

  2. (a) The possession within this state of more than four hundred cigarettes in unstamped or unlawfully stamped packages or more than two hundred fifty cigars, or more than five pounds of tobacco other than roll-your-own tobacco, or more than thirty-six ounces of roll-your-own tobacco by any person other than an agent or distributor, as the case may be, at any one time shall be presumptive evidence that such cigarettes or tobacco products are subject to tax as provided by this article.

  (b) Nothing in this section shall apply to common or contract carriers or warehousemen while engaged in lawfully transporting or storing tobacco products or unstamped packages of cigarettes as merchandise, nor to any employee of such carrier or warehouseman acting within the scope of his employment, nor to public officers or employees in the performance of their official duties requiring possession or control of tobacco products or unstamped or unlawfully stamped packages of cigarettes, nor to temporary incidental possession by employees or agents of persons lawfully entitled to possession, nor to persons whose possession is for the purpose of aiding police officers in performing their duties.

  3. For purposes of this chapter, the certificate of the commissioner of taxation and finance to the effect that a tax or fee imposed by this article has not been paid, that a return required by or under the provisions of this article has not been filed, or that information has not been supplied, as required by or under the provisions of this article, or that a bond or other security required by or pursuant to the provisions of this article has not been filed, or that books, accounts, records, memoranda, documents or papers have not been supplied as required by or pursuant to the authority of this article, or that a retail dealer or vending machine owner or operator is not currently or validly registered as required by this article shall be prima facie evidence that such tax or fee has not been paid, such return not filed, such information not supplied, such bond or other security not filed, that such books, accounts, records, memoranda, documents or papers have not been supplied, or that such retail dealer or vending machine owner or operator is not currently or validly registered.

  4. Cross-reference: For criminal penalties, see article thirty-seven of this chapter.