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Taxing My Cigarettes!
By Patricia Long


August 18, 2005

In mid-July I received a letter from the State Dept. of Revenue telling me that I had to pay taxes on the cigarettes I had ordered for the past 3 years. There was no amount given, just the required years and the tax amount of 5 cents per cigarettes. Of course I had no idea how many I had ordered. The letter gave a number to call if you had questions. I called and I found out that they had the number. They had a report from the company from which I ordered.

I probably would have not have paid any attention to the letter, since there were no details, but a friend called me and alerted me to the call, and that she owed a sizable amount. So did I, but I was able to mail in the whole amount.

My friend couldn't do that and was told there was no way to set up a payment plan. She sent in a partial payment. She finally decided to get a loan so she could pay it off by the due date. She called the tax office to make sure she had the right amount. It was then that she was told she owed another amount for interest due. It was over a thousand dollars. She burst into tears.

She had been scrimping to save enough to pay it and all their other bills.

I called and asked if they had received my payment ( they don't give a receipt ) and then asked if I would be owing more and was told NO. She had called a different number than I, so she called the number I had and was told that YES I would be liable for the interest yet and they would be sending out notices soon. The interest would be eleven percent quarterly.

The information in the letter is ambiguous and there is no mention of the amount of interest. I am very unhappy with the way this is being handled.

We are senior citizens, living mainly on Social Security. We bought these cigarettes for our consumption only, not for resale. We all order other goods from "down south" because it is cheaper and we aren't punished for trying to live within our means. I wouldn't be surprised if there are a lot of people bankrupted and forced on the welfare rolls, and even a few suicides.

I would hope to get a block together and see if we can get some changes made or recoup some of our losses.

Patricia (Lindeman) Long
Ketchikan, AK - USA


Related News:

Online cigarette buyers targeted for taxes; Smokers face steep penalties for avoiding taxes by mail-order, Internet purchases
Juneau Empire - July 22, 2005


Online cigarette buyers must pay up, state says; TAXES: Smokers can buy cheap tobacco on the Internet, but now they owe money.
Anchorage Daily News - July 21, 2005



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