Alabama

Alerts & Updates

Key Contacts

Alabama Department of Revenue
Tobacco Tax Section
(334) 242-9627

Alabama Alcoholic Beverage Control Board
Administrative Division
(334) 271 -3840
Enforcement Division
(334) 213-6300

Alabama Ethics Commission
(334) 242-2997
info@ethics.alabama.gov

PCA Contact

Rachel Hall rachel@premiumcigars.org

Legislative Information

Taxation

Alabama imposes a “license or privilege tax,” measured according to volume of sales, on every person or entity within the State who sells, stores, or receives tobacco products for the purpose of distribution. However, every wholesaler, distributor, jobber, semijobber, or retail dealer is required to add the amount of the tax to the price of the tobacco or tobacco products sold. If a retail dealer or consumer receives untaxed products, it is their responsibility to remit the tax to the Department of Revenue. 

Taxes on tobacco products other than cigarettes and smokeless tobacco (“OTP”) are paid by all distributors and consumers by filing a monthly state tax return.

Many counties in Alabama also levy additional, state-administered other tobacco product taxes that are paid by filing monthly county tax returns. Local taxes imposed on or before May 18, 2004, remain operative, but no additional local tax and/or license fee can be levied on the sale of other tobacco products (OTP).

Ala. Code § 40-25-2

Alabama’s tax rates on tobacco products other than cigarettes vary based on weight (for little cigars, snuff, chewing tobacco and smoking tobacco) and retail selling price (cheroots, stogies, and cigars) of the products.

Ala. Code § 40-25-2

Alabama Schedule of Taxes on Tobacco Products


Alabama HB 104 (2019) pertains to taxes on tobacco in Mobile County. In Mobile County, every person, firm,  corporation, club, or association that sells, stores, or receives for distribution or sale any cigarettes, cigars, cheroots, stogies, smoking tobacco, chewing tobacco, snuff, or any substitute thereof, as defined in Section 42-25-1, Code of Alabama 1975, shall add the amount of the license or privilege tax levied and assessed to the price of the product. 

Taxes are outlined on tobacco products as the following:

  • $0.20 for each package of cigarettes made of tobacco or any substitute therefor. 
  • $0.21 for each cigar stick of any description made of tobacco or any substitute therefor, with the exception of cigarette-sized or near-cigarette-sized cigars which shall be taxed at the same rate as cigarettes.  
  • $.23 for each sack, can, package, or other containers of smoking tobacco, including granulated, plug cut, crimp cut, ready rubbed, and other kinds and forms of tobacco which are prepared in such a manner as to be suitable for smoking in a pipe or cigarette. 
  • $0.23 for each sack, plug, package, or other containers of chewing tobacco, which tobacco is prepared in such manner as to be suitable for chewing only and not suitable for smoking.
  • $.23 for each can, bottle, glass, tumbler, package, or other containers of snuff made of tobacco or any substitute therefor. 
  • $.34 for each package of tobacco paper, both gummed and ungummed.

This measure goes into effect on October 1, 2019.

Wholesalers distributing untaxed tobacco products in Alabama should submit an Application for Tobacco Stamping Permit [Form TOB: APP-R (In-state) or Form TOB: APP-NR (Out-of-state)]. Distributors who want to distribute tobacco products into another state, Alabama tax free, must also apply and qualify for a Tobacco Stamping Permit to become a qualified wholesaler, as only a qualified wholesaler may sell tobacco products exempt from Alabama’s tobacco tax. 

Ala. Code § 40-25-15


Retail distributors receiving or selling tobacco products for which the state and/or state-administered county taxes have not been paid must submit the Tobacco Products Registration Form (Form TOB: REG) to the Department of Revenue.

Tobacco product retailers and wholesalers are also required to obtain a privilege license for each county in which the entity does business. Retailers must pay to the state the following privilege license tax:

POPULATIONTAX AMOUNT
In cities of 25,000+ inhabitants$15
In cities or towns of 10,000 — 24,999 inhabitants$10
In cities or towns of 5,000 — 9,999 inhabitants$5
In cities or towns of 2,000 — 4,999 inhabitants$3
In all other places, whether incorporated or not$2

Wholesalers are required to pay one $100 privilege license tax to the state and $5 to each county in which the wholesale dealer does business.

Ala. Code § 40-12-72: Retailers
Ala. Code § 40-12-73: Wholesalers


Each distributor of other tobacco products in Alabama is required to file a Monthly State Tobacco Tax Return (Form TOB: OTP) and a Report of All Tobacco Sales for Resale (Form TOB: SALES FOR RESALE) with the Department of Revenue by the 20th of each month, along with payment for taxes due. These forms must be filed even if there is no activity during the month. 

In addition, distributors who sell or receive tobacco products in a state-administered county for which the county tax has not been paid must file a Monthly County Tobacco Tax Return (Form TTCO-A) by the 20th of each month, along with payment for taxes due.

Form Type / NameForm Number / Link
Alabama Department of Revenue Forms DatabaseForms Database
Applications for Tobacco Stamping Permit – In-State ResidentTOB: APP-R
Applications for Tobacco Stamping Permit – Non-ResidentTOB: APP-NR
Agreement Which Is a Part of The Application for Tobacco Wholesalers PermitTOB: T-AGREE
Tobacco Products Registration FormTOB: REG
Monthly State Tobacco Tax ReturnTOB: OTP
Report of All Tobacco Sales for ResaleTOB: SALES FOR RESALE
Monthly County Tobacco Tax ReturnTOB: TTCO-A
Application for Permit to Transport & Distribute Taxable TobaccosTOB: Rep-A
Tobacco Product Manufacturer Certificate of ComplianceTOB: TPM CERT
Sales Tax Surety Bond (New Taxpayers Selling Beer, Wine and Tobacco Products)S7U BOND

Cigar and Smoking Tobacco Definitions

Smoking” is the burning of a lighted cigarette, cigar, pipe, or any other matter or substance that contains tobacco.

Ala. Code § 22-15A-3

Cigars, Cheroots, Stogies, etc.” are rolls for smoking that are of any size or shape and that are made wholly or in part of tobacco or any substitute therefor, irrespective of whether the tobacco is pure or flavored, adulterated or mixed with any other ingredient, if the roll has a wrapper made wholly or in part of tobacco.

Ala. Code  § 40-25-1

A “wholesale dealer” or “jobber” is a person, firm, or corporation who buys tobacco products direct from the manufacturer or an affiliate of the manufacturer and sells at wholesale only, any one or more of the articles taxed herein to licensed wholesale dealers, jobbers, semijobbers, and retail dealers for the purpose of resale only.

Ala. Code § 40-25-1

A “retail dealer” is every person, firm, or corporation, other than a wholesale dealer or jobber, who sells or offers for sale any one or more of the articles taxed herein, irrespective of quantity or amount, or the number of sales; and all persons operating under a retail dealer’s license.

Ala. Code § 40-25-1

A “semijobber” is a person, firm, or corporation who buys tobacco products from permitted wholesalers or obtains tobacco from any other source and sells at wholesale any one or more of the articles taxed herein to licensed retail dealers for the purpose of resale only.

Ala. Code § 40-25-1

Restrictions

Alabama state law prohibits smoking “in a public place or at a public meeting,” which includes auditoriums, elevators, hospitals, nursing homes, libraries, courtrooms, jury waiting rooms and deliberation rooms, theatres, museums, common areas of retirement homes, restaurants, laundromats, health facilities, educational facilities, shopping malls, government buildings, sports and recreational facilities, places of employment, airports, banks, retail stores, service establishments, and any meeting open to the public unless held in a private residence.

Ala. Code § 22-15A-4


Alabama law allows any county, city, town, or village to adopt and enforce local laws, ordinances, or regulations that comply with at least the minimum applicable standards of its smoking restrictions.

Ala. Code § 22-15A-10


Alabama HB 41 (2019) prohibits the use of alternative nicotine products in various places, including in schools, in childcare facilities, and in vehicles operated by childcare facilities for the purposes of transporting children.

The following are exempt from the ban on smoking, subject to conditions:

  • Bars and lounges, where the establishment is primarily devoted to the serving of alcoholic beverages for consumption on the premises and in which food service is only incidental to the consumption of beverages
  • Licensed retail tobacco stores and tobacco businesses
  • Limousines used under private hire by an individual or corporation
  • Designated hotel and motel rooms
  • Separated, well-ventilated areas in a chemical dependency treatment or mental health program

Ala. Code § 22-15A-4


Alabama law does not provide a specific application procedure to qualify for exemption from the smoking ban. Localities may have specific requirements.

Individuals under the age of 19 cannot purchase, use, possess, or transport tobacco, tobacco products, or alternative nicotine products in Alabama. However, it is not illegal for a person under the age of 19 who is an employee of a tobacco, tobacco product, or alternative nicotine product permit holder to handle, transport, or sell tobacco, tobacco products, or alternative tobacco products if:

  • the minor employee is acting within the line and scope of employment; and 
  • the permit holder, or an employee of the permit holder who is 21 years of age or older, is present.

Ala. Code § 28-11-13


Any person who distributes tobacco or tobacco products within the state must conspicuously post a sign stating that:

  • Alabama law strictly prohibits the purchase of tobacco products by persons under the age of 19
  • Proof of age is required for the purchase of tobacco products

Ala. Code § 28-11-15


Alabama law contains no specific provisions concerning state preemption of local youth access laws, so local communities may pass more stringent laws or ordinances in this area.

In Alabama, no tobacco or tobacco products, except cigars, may be distributed unless in an original factory-wrapped container.

Ala. Code § 28-11-6


Entities that have not obtained privilege licenses under Code of Alabama 1975 §40-12-72 or §40-12-73 but wish to distribute samples or promotional tobacco products in Alabama must file an Application for Permit to Transport & Distribute Taxable Tobaccos (Form TOB: Rep-A), along with a $50 application fee. Any person, firm, corporation, club, or association found transporting or distributing any tobacco products without first securing a permit will be punished by a fine of not more than $1,000 for each such offense.

Ala. Code § 40-25-19


All other tobacco products distributed as samples, gratis, or for promotional reasons will be taxed in accordance with the provisions of §40-25-2(a)(8) and §40-25-2.1, Code of Alabama 1975. The appropriate tax will be paid by filing the Monthly State Tobacco Tax Return (Form TOB: OTP), along with payment for the taxes due.

Ala. Admin. Code r. 810-7-1-.07


Alabama law contains no specific provision concerning state preemption of sampling, so local communities may pass more stringent laws or ordinances on tobacco sampling.

Operating Your Business

Any person who distributes tobacco products within Alabama must first obtain a tobacco license from the Alabama Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) Board for each location of distribution. There is no fee for this license. ABC Licenses are valid from October 1st to September 30th of the following year and must be renewed annually.

Access the pre-application packet here: ABC Pre-Application Packet.
Licenses must be renewed between June 1st — July 31st of each year at Alabama License Renewal Portal.

Ala. Code § 28-11-7


Wholesalers distributing untaxed tobacco products in Alabama should also submit an Application for Tobacco Stamping Permit [Form TOB: APP-R (In-state) or Form TOB-APP-NR (Out-of-state)]. Distributors who want to distribute tobacco products into another state, Alabama tax-free, must also apply and qualify for a Tobacco Stamping Permit to become a qualified wholesaler, as only a qualified wholesaler may sell tobacco products exempt from Alabama’s tobacco tax.

Ala. Code § 40-25-15


Retail distributors receiving or selling tobacco products for which the state and/or state-administered county taxes have not been paid must submit the Tobacco Products Registration Form (Form TOB: REG) to the Department of Revenue.

Tobacco product retailers and wholesalers are also required to obtain a privilege license from each county in which the entity does business. Retailers must pay to the state the following privilege license tax:

POPULATIONTAX AMOUNT
In cities of 25,000+ inhabitants$15
In cities or towns of 10,000 — 25,000 inhabitants$10
In cities or towns of 5,000 — 9,999 inhabitants$5
In cities or towns of 2,000 — 4,999 inhabitants$3
In all other places, whether incorporated or not$2

Wholesalers are also required to pay a $100 privilege license tax to the state and $5 to each county in which the wholesale dealer does business.

Ala. Code § 40-12-72: Retailers
Ala. Code § 40-12-73: Wholesalers

Each distributor of other tobacco products in Alabama is required to file a Monthly State Tobacco Tax Return (Form TOB: OTP) and a Report of All Tobacco Sales for Resale (Form TOB: SALES FOR RESALE) with the Department of Revenue by the 20th of each month, along with payment for taxes due. These forms must be filed even if there is no activity during the month. 

In addition, distributors who sell or receive tobacco products in a state-administered county for which the county tax has not been paid must file a Monthly County Tobacco Tax Return (Form TTCO-A) by the 20th of each month, along with payment for taxes due.

Bars and lounges are exempt from the ban on smoking, where the establishment is primarily devoted to the serving of alcoholic beverages for consumption on the premises and in which foodservice is only incidental to the consumption of beverages. However, Alabama law does not provide a specific application procedure to qualify for exemption from the smoking ban. Localities may have specific requirements.

Ala. Code § 22-15A-4

Localities may also require additional business licenses.

Form Type / NameForm Number / Link
Alabama Department of Revenue Forms DatabaseForms Database
Applications for Tobacco Stamping Permit – In-State ResidentTOB: APP-R
Applications for Tobacco Stamping Permit – Non-ResidentTOB: APP-NR
Agreement Which Is a Part of The Application for Tobacco Wholesalers PermitTOB: T-AGREE
Tobacco Products Registration FormTOB: REG
Monthly State Tobacco Tax ReturnTOB: OTP
Report of All Tobacco Sales for ResaleTOB: SALES FOR RESALE
Monthly County Tobacco Tax ReturnTOB: TTCO-A
Application for Permit to Transport & Distribute Taxable TobaccosTOB: Rep-A
Tobacco Product Manufacturer Certificate of ComplianceTOB: TPM CERT
Sales Tax Surety Bond (New Taxpayers Selling Beer, Wine and Tobacco Products)S7U BOND

Political Involvement

The term “lobbyist” includes any of the following:

  • A person who receives compensation or reimbursement from another person, group, or entity to lobby.
  • A person who lobbies as a regular and usual part of employment, whether or not any compensation in addition to regular salary and benefits is received.
  • A consultant to the state, county, or municipal levels of government or their instrumentalities, in any manner employed to influence legislation or regulation, regardless whether the consultant is paid in whole or part from state, county, municipal, or private funds.
  • An employee, a paid consultant, or a member of the staff of a lobbyist, whether or not he or she is paid, who regularly communicates with members of a legislative body regarding pending legislation and other matters while the legislative body is in session.

Ala. Code § 36-25-1

The term “lobbyist” does NOT include any of the following:

  • An elected official on a matter which involves that person’s official duties.
  • A person or attorney rendering professional services in drafting bills or in advising clients and in rendering opinions as to the construction and effect of proposed or pending legislation, executive action, or rules or regulations, where those professional services are not otherwise connected with legislative, executive, or regulatory action.
  • Reporters and editors while pursuing normal reportorial and editorial duties.
  • Any citizen not lobbying for compensation who contacts a member of a legislative body or gives public testimony on a particular issue or on particular legislation, or for the purpose of influencing legislation and who is merely exercising his or her constitutional right to communicate with members of a legislative body.
  • A person who appears before a legislative body, a regulatory body, or an executive agency to either sell or purchase goods or services.
  • A person whose primary duties or responsibilities do not include lobbying, but who may, from time to time, organize social events for members of a legislative body to meet and confer with members of professional organizations and who may have only irregular contacts with members of a legislative body when the body is not in session or when the body is in recess.
  • A person who is a member of a business, professional, or membership organization by virtue of the person’s contribution to or payment of dues to the organization even though the organization engages in lobbying activities.
  • A state governmental agency head or his or her designee who provides or communicates, or both, information relating to policy or positions, or both, affecting the governmental agencies which he or she represents.

Ala. Code § 36-25-1

Lobby” or “Lobbying” is the practice of promoting, opposing, or in any manner influencing or attempting to influence the introduction, defeat, or enactment of legislation before any legislative body; opposing or in any manner influencing the executive approval, veto, or amendment of legislation; or the practice of promoting, opposing, or in any manner influencing or attempting to influence the enactment, promulgation, modification, or deletion of regulations before any regulatory body. The term does not include providing public testimony before a legislative body or regulatory body or any committee thereof.

Ala. Code § 36-25-1

A “principal” is a person or business which employs, hires, or otherwise retains a lobbyist.

Ala. Code § 36-25-1

Every lobbyist in Alabama must register with the Alabama Ethics Commission no later than January 31st of each year, or within 10 days after the first lobbying activity. Registration is completed by submitting a Lobbyist Registration Statement for each principal, paying an annual $100 fee (unless the lobbyist is a public employee), and registering/attending the required Ethics Training Class for Lobbyists. Principals are required to submit Principal’s Statements for Lobbying Registration. Lobbyists and Principals must also submit Quarterly Statements of Lobbying Activities based on the following deadlines:

months covereddue date
January — MarchApril 30th
April — JuneJuly 31st
July — SeptemberOctober 31st
October — DecemberJanuary 31st
Alabama Ethics Commission Form Name / tyPeForm number / link
Lobbyists & Principals InformationForms & FAQs
Lobbyist First-Time RegistrationRegistration
Lobbyist Registration StatementLobbyist Statement
Principal’s Statement for Lobbyist RegistrationPrincipal’s Statement
Quarterly Statement of Lobbying Activities – for LobbyistsLobbyist Form
Quarterly Statement of Lobbying Activities – for PrincipalsPrincipal’s Form
Statement of Termination of Lobbying ActivitiesTermination Statement

Shipping Regulations

Alabama does not have any specific restrictions concerning the shipping of tobacco products to consumers. However, Alabama has specific requirements concerning the shipping of cigarettes to consumers. 

Ala. Code §§ 13A-12-3.1 to 13A-12-13.7


Any person who distributes tobacco products within Alabama must first obtain a tobacco license from the Alabama Alcoholic Beverage Control (“ABC”) Board for each location of the distribution. There is no fee for this license. ABC Licenses are valid from October 1st to September 30th of the following year and must be renewed annually.

The pre-application packet can be found here: ABC Pre-Application Packet. Licenses must be renewed between June 1st — July 31st of each year at Alabama License Renewal Portal.

Ala. Code § 28-11-7


Wholesalers distributing untaxed tobacco products in Alabama should also submit an Application for Tobacco Stamping Permit [Form TOB: APP-R (In-state) or Form TOB-APP-NR (Out-of-state)]. Distributors who want to distribute tobacco products into another state, Alabama tax-free, must also apply and qualify for a Tobacco Stamping Permit to become a qualified wholesaler, as only a qualified wholesaler may sell tobacco products exempt from Alabama’s tobacco tax. 

Ala. Code § 40-25-15


Retail distributors receiving or selling tobacco products for which the state and/or state-administered county taxes have not been paid must submit the Tobacco Products Registration Form (Form TOB: REG) to the Department of Revenue.

Tobacco product retailers and wholesalers are also required to obtain a privilege license from each county in which the entity does business. Retailers must pay to the state the following privilege license tax:

POPULATIONTAX AMOUNT
In cities of 25,000+ inhabitants$15
In cities or towns of 10,000 — 25,000 inhabitants$10
In cities or towns of 5,000 — 9,999 inhabitants$5
In cities or towns of 2,000 — 4,999 inhabitants$3
In all other places, whether incorporated or not$2

Wholesalers are required to pay one $100 privilege license tax to the state and $5 to each county in which the wholesale dealer does business.

Ala. Code § 40-12-72: Retailers
Ala. Code § 40-12-73: Wholesalers


Persons and companies transporting and distributing tobacco products within the state that do not have a Section 40-12-72 or Section 40-12-73 privilege license to sell tobacco products must complete an Application for Permit to Transport and Distribute Taxable Tobaccos, which you can find here: Application for Permit to Transport and Distribute Taxable Tobaccos.

Alabama has specific age verification requirements for the shipping of tobacco products to consumers. For legal mail order purposes, only a valid signed certification that will verify the individual is 19 years of age or older can be used for the purpose of determining the age of a person purchasing, attempting to purchase, or receiving tobacco products.

Ala. Code §§ 28-11-1 to 28-11-15

Ala. Admin. Code r. 20-X-20-.01


Alabama has specific age verification requirements for the shipping of cigarettes. 

Ala. Code §§ 13A-12-3.1 to 13A-12-13.7

Alabama imposes a “license or privilege tax,” measured according to the volume of sales, on every person or entity within the State who sells, stores, or receives tobacco products for the purpose of distribution. However, every wholesaler, distributor, jobber, semijobber, or retail dealer is required to add the amount of the tax to the price of the tobacco or tobacco products sold. If a retail dealer or consumer receives untaxed products, it is their responsibility to remit the tax to the Department of Revenue. 

Taxes on tobacco products other than cigarettes and smokeless tobacco (“OTP”) are paid by all distributors and consumers by filing a monthly state tax return. 

Ala. Code § 40-25-2


Disclaimer: PCA believes the information on this site is accurate. However, tobacco laws and regulations are subject to frequent change and court interpretation. Statements above are not intended as legal advice or restatement of law. PCA does not guarantee or assume responsibility for the accuracy, completeness or timeliness of this information, nor that this information complies with all federal laws or the laws of all 50 states. Parties acknowledge and agree it is not the intention of PCA to provide specific legal advice for particular individuals, but rather to provide users with general information to better understand these issues. Users shall neither construe any of these materials as legal advice nor make this site the primary basis for any legal decisions made by or on your behalf and agree to release and waive any claims against PCA for the same. You shall consult with legal advisors concerning any contemplated individual decision.