Colorado

Alerts & Updates

Key Contacts

Colorado Department of Revenue
Tobacco Tax Unit
(303) 205-8211 x 6887

House of Representatives, Office of the Chief Clerk
(303) 866-2345

Colorado Department of State
Lobbyist Registration
(303) 894-2200 x6304
lobbyists@sos.state.co.us

PCA Contact

Tyler Henson tyler@premiumcigars.org

Legislative Information

Taxation

Colorado imposes two taxes on the sale, use, consumption, handling, or distribution of all tobacco products in the state. These taxes are imposed at the time the distributor: brings tobacco products or causes tobacco products to be brought into Colorado for sale; makes, manufactures, or fabricates tobacco products in Colorado for sale in Colorado; or ships or transports tobacco products to retailers in Colorado to be sold by those retailers. Any person in possession of untaxed tobacco products from a distributor who neglected to remit taxes must file a tax return within 30 days of taking possession of the products.

Colorado law allows any city or town to impose, levy, and collect an additional tax on tobacco products.

Colo. Rev. Stat. § 39-28.5-102: Tax levied

Colo. Rev. Stat. § 39-28.5-102.5: Tax levied – state constitution

Colo. Rev. Stat. § 39-28.5-109: Taxation by cities and towns

Colorado Department of Revenue: Tobacco Tax

The total excise tax on tobacco products is 40% of the manufacturer’s list price of the products.

Colo. Rev. Stat. § 39-28.5-102: Tax levied

Colo. Rev. Stat. § 39-28.5-102.5: Tax levied – state constitution

Colorado Department of Revenue: Tobacco Tax

Colorado HB 1033 (2019) stipulates that each municipality in the state is authorized to levy, collect, enforce, and administer a municipal special sales tax upon all sales of cigarettes, tobacco products, or nicotine products. 

A special sales tax shall not be levied until the proposal has been referred to and approved by the eligible electors of the municipality in accordance with article 10 of title 31. Any proposal for the levy of a special sales tax must be submitted to the eligible electors of the municipality on the date of the state general election, on the first Tuesday in November of an odd-numbered year, or on the date of a municipal biennial election. Any election on the proposal must be conducted by the clerk of the municipality in accordance with the “Colorado municipal election code of 1965”, article 10 of title 31. 

If a county or municipality obtained approval from the eligible electors of the county or municipality prior to the effective date of this measure, to levy, collect, enforce, and administer a special sales tax on the sale of cigarettes, tobacco products, or nicotine products, the special sales tax is valid and the county or municipality is authorized to continue to levy, collect, enforce, and administer the special sales tax; except that, in the case of a county, the county is authorized to continue to levy, collect, enforce, and administer the special sales tax so long as the county complies with subsection (2) of this measure. If a county levies, collects, enforces, and administers a special sales tax in a municipality that has already obtained voter approval to levy a municipal special sales tax on the sale of cigarettes, tobacco products, or nicotine products, the county special sales tax is invalid within the corporate limits of the municipality unless the county enters into an intergovernmental agreement with the municipality that authorizes the county to continue to levy, collect, enforce, and administer the special sales tax on cigarettes, tobacco products, or nicotine products within the corporate limits of the municipality.

Any person engaging in the business of a distributor of tobacco products in Colorado must first complete the Colorado Sales Tax Account Application (Form CR 0100) and obtain a license for each place of business by filing a Tobacco Products Distributor Application (Form DR 0222), an Authorization for Electronic Funds Transfer (Form DR 5785), a Tobacco Distributor’s Certificate for Exemption (Form DR 1286), and a fee of $10 or less, based on the filing date. Tobacco Products Distributor licenses are valid until June 30th following the date of issue and must be renewed annually.

Distributors must also file a Colorado Tobacco Tax Return (Form DR 0229) each quarter. The return must be filed, and the payment made on or before the 20th day of the month following the reporting quarter. Distributors must file a return even if no tax is due for that quarter. 

Tobacco Products Distributing Subcontractors are required to complete Form CR 0100 and obtain a license by filing Form DR 0222, Form DR 1286, and a fee of $10 or less, based on the filing date.

Form Type / NameForm Number / Link
Tobacco TaxInstructions and Forms
Colorado Sales Tax Account ApplicationDorm DR 0100
Tobacco Products Distributor ApplicationForm DR 0222
Authorization for Electronic Funds TransferForm DR 5785
Tobacco Distributor’s Certificate for ExemptionForm 1286
Colorado Tobacco Tax ReturnForm DR 0229
Tobacco Products Tax Return for Non-Licensed DistributorsForm DR 0225

Cigar and Smoking Tobacco Definitions

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

Colo. Rev. Stat. § 25-14-203(16)

Tobacco products” means cigars, cheroots, stogies, periques, granulated, plug cut, crimp cut, ready rubbed, and other smoking tobacco, snuff, snuff flour, cavendish, plug and twist tobacco, fine-cut and other chewing tobaccos, shorts, refuse scraps, clippings, cuttings and sweepings of tobacco, and other kinds and forms of tobacco, prepared in such manner as to be suitable for chewing or for smoking in a pipe or otherwise, or both for chewing and smoking.

Colo. Rev. Stat. § 39-28.5-101

Distributor” means every person who first receives tobacco products in this state, every person who sells tobacco products in this state who is primarily liable for the tobacco products tax on such products, and every person who first sells or offers for sale in this state tobacco products imported into this state from any other state or country.

Colo. Rev. Stat. § 39-28.5-101

Distributing subcontractor” means every person, firm, limited liability company, partnership, or corporation who purchases tobacco products from a distributor for resale to a retailer in this state.

Colo. Rev. Stat. § 39-28.5-101

Sale” means any transfer, exchange, or barter, in any manner or by any means whatsoever, for a consideration, including all sales made by any person. The term includes a gift by a person engaged in the business of selling tobacco products, for advertising.

Colo. Rev. Stat. § 39-28.5-101

Electronic smoking device” means as any product that contains or delivers nicotine or any other substance intended for human consumption and that can be used by a person to enable the inhalation of vapor or aerosol from the product. This includes any similar product or device, whether manufactured, distributed, marketed or sold as an e-cigarette, e-cigar, e-pipe, e-hookah or vape pen or under any other product, name or descriptor.

Colorado HB 1076 (2019)

Restrictions

In Colorado, smoking is not permitted in any indoor area, including public meeting places, elevators, government-owned or –operated means of mass transportation (buses, vans, and trains), taxicabs and limousines, grocery stores, gymnasiums, jury waiting and deliberation rooms, courtrooms, child daycare facilities, health care facilities, places of employment, food service establishments, bars, gaming facilities, indoor sports, arenas, common areas in public and private buildings, bowling alleys, pool halls, public buildings, auditoria, theaters, museums, libraries, public and nonpublic schools, other educational and vocational institutions, and the entryways of all buildings and facilities listed.

 Colo. Rev. Stat. § 25-14-204


Colorado law allows local authorities to enact, adopt, and enforce more stringent smoking restrictions.

 Colo. Rev. Stat. § 25-14-207

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

  • Private homes, private residences, and private automobiles, except when used for childcare or daycare purposes
  • Limousines under private hire
  • Any retail tobacco business, defined as a sole proprietorship, corporation, partnership, or other enterprise engaged primarily in the sale, manufacture, or promotion of tobacco, tobacco products, or smoking devices or accessories, either at wholesale or retail, and in which the sale, manufacture, or promotion of other products is merely incidental
  • A cigar-tobacco bar, defined as a bar that, in the calendar year ending December 31, 2005, generated at least 5% or more of its total annual gross income or $50,000 in annual sales from the on-site sale of tobacco products and the rental of on-site humidors, not including any sales from vending machines. In any calendar year after December 31, 2005, a bar that fails to generate at least 5% of its total annual gross income or $50,000 in annual sales from the on-site sale of tobacco products and the rental of on-site humidors shall not be defined as a “cigar-tobacco bar” and shall not thereafter be included in the definition regardless of sales figures
    • A cigar-tobacco bar cannot expand its size or change its location from the size and location in which it existed as of December 31, 2005. A cigar-tobacco bar must conspicuously display a sign at least four inches by six inches in size stating: “Smoking allowed. Children under 18 of age must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.”
  • The outdoor area of any business
  • A private, nonresidential building on a farm or ranch that has an annual income of less than $500,000

Colo. Rev. Stat. § 25-14-204
Colo. Rev. Stat. § 25-14-205

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

Colorado HB 1076 (2019) eliminates the existing exceptions for certain places of business in which smoking may be permitted, such as airport smoking concessions, businesses with 3 or fewer employees, designated smoking rooms in hotels, and designated smoking areas in assisted living facilities. It also repeals the ability of property owners and managers to designate smoking and nonsmoking areas through the posting of signs.

In Colorado, it is illegal for a person under 18 years of age to purchase, attempt to purchase or possess any cigarettes, tobacco products, or nicotine products. Colorado law contains no specific exception for minor employees of retail tobacco stores. Similarly, it is illegal to give, sell, distribute, dispense, or offer for sale a cigarette, tobacco product, or nicotine product to any person who is under 18 years of age.

Colo. Rev. Stat. § 18-13-121
Colo. Rev. Stat. § 25-14-301


Any person who sells or offers to sell cigarettes, tobacco products, or nicotine products must conspicuously display a warning sign at least 3 inches high and 6 inches wide that reads as follows:

WARNING

IT IS ILLEGAL FOR ANY PERSON UNDER 18 YEARS OF AGE TO PURCHASE CIGARETTES, TOBACCO PRODUCTS, OR NICOTINE PRODUCTS, AND, UPON CONVICTION, A $100.00 FINE MAY BE IMPOSED.

Colo. Rev. Stat. § 44-7-103


Colorado law allows any statutory or home-rule municipality to enact an ordinance that imposes more stringent youth access restrictions.

Colo. Rev. Stat. § 18-13-121(3)
Colo. Rev. Stat. § 25-14-301(4)


Colorado HB 1076 (2019) The measure also provides that a cigar-tobacco bar shall prohibit entry by any person under 18 years of age and shall display signage in at least one conspicuous place and at least four inches by six inches in size stating:

“Smoking allowed. Children under eighteen years of age may not enter.”

A retail tobacco business shall prohibit entry by any person under eighteen years of age and shall display signage in at least one conspicuous place and at least four inches by six inches in size stating: “Smoking allowed. Children under 18 years of age may not enter” or in the case of a retail tobacco business that desires to allow the use of ESDs but not other forms of smoking on the premises, “Vaping allowed. Children under 18 years of age may not enter.”

Colorado HB 1033 (2019) authorizes a county to enact a resolution or ordinance that prohibits a minor from possessing or purchasing cigarettes, tobacco products, or nicotine products. It also authorizes a county to impose regulations on cigarettes, tobacco products, or nicotine products that are more stringent than statewide regulations, including prohibiting sales to a person under 21 years of age, and as well as expressly authorizing a county to enact a resolution or ordinance regulating the sale of cigarettes, tobacco products, or nicotine products.

In Colorado, no retailer may sell or offer to sell individual cigarettes, or any pack or container of cigarettes containing fewer than twenty cigarettes, or roll-your-own tobacco in any package containing less than 0.60 ounces of tobacco.

Colo. Rev. Stat. § 44-7-103


Tobacco samples are subject to the tobacco products tax and licensing requirements, as the term “sale” is defined to include a gift by a person engaged in the business of selling tobacco products, for advertising.

Colo. Rev. Stat. § 39-28.5-101


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

Operating Your Business

Any person engaging in the business of a distributor of tobacco products in Colorado must first complete the Colorado Sales Tax Account Application (Form CR 0100) and obtain a license for each place of business by filing a Tobacco Products Distributor Application (Form DR 0222), an Authorization for Electronic Funds Transfer (Form DR 5785), a Tobacco Distributor’s Certificate for Exemption (Form DR 1286), and a fee of $10 or less, based on the filing date. Tobacco Products Distributor licenses are valid until June 30th following the date of issue and must be renewed annually. Tobacco products license renewal applications will automatically be mailed to each licensed distributor.

Distributors must also file a Colorado Tobacco Tax Return (Form DR 0229) each quarter. The return must be filed, and the payment made on or before the 20th day of the month following the reporting quarter. Distributors must file a return even if no tax is due for that quarter. 

Tobacco Products Distributing Subcontractors are required to complete Form CR 0100 and obtain a license by filing Form DR 0222, Form DR 1286, and a fee of $10 or less, based on the filing date.

Establishments that qualify as cigar-tobacco bars are exempt from the ban on smoking. A cigar-tobacco bar is defined as a bar that, in the calendar year ending December 31, 2005, generated at least 5% or more of its total annual gross income or $50,000 in annual sales from the on-site sale of tobacco products and the rental of on-site humidors, not including any sales from vending machines. In any calendar year after December 31, 2005, a bar that fails to generate at least 5% of its total annual gross income or $50,000 in annual sales from the on-site sale of tobacco products and the rental of on-site humidors shall not be defined as a “cigar-tobacco bar” and will not thereafter be included in the definition regardless of sales figures.A cigar-tobacco bar cannot expand its size or change its location from the size and location in which it existed as of December 31, 2005. A cigar-tobacco bar must conspicuously display a sign at least four inches by six inches in size stating: “Smoking allowed. Children under 18 of age must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.” However, Colorado law does not provide a specific application procedure to qualify for exemption from the smoking ban. Localities may have specific requirements.

Localities may also require additional business licenses.

Form Type / NameForm Number / Link
Tobacco Tax – Instructions and FormsInstructions and Forms
Colorado Sales Tax Account ApplicationForm DR 0100
Authorization for Electronic Funds TransferForm DR 5785
Tobacco Products Tax Return for Non-Licensed DistributorsForm DR 0225

Political Involvement

Lobbyist” means either

  • Professional Lobbyist,” a person, business entity, including a sole proprietorship, or an employee of a client, who is compensated by a client or another professional lobbyist for lobbying. “Professional lobbyist” does not include any volunteer lobbyist, any state official or employee acting in his official capacity, any elected public official acting in his official capacity, or any individual who appears as counsel or advisor in an adjudicatory proceeding.
  • Volunteer Lobbyist,” any individual who engages in lobbying and whose only receipt of money or other thing of value consists of nothing more than reimbursement for actual and reasonable expenses incurred for personal needs, such as meals, travel, lodging, and parking, while engaged in lobbying or for actual expenses incurred in informing the organization making the reimbursement or the members thereof of his lobbying.

Colo. Rev. Stat. 24-6-301

A “lobbying firm” is a person or entity employing one or more professional lobbyists to lobby on behalf of a client that is not the person or entity. “Lobbying firm” includes a self-employed professional lobbyist.

Colo. Rev. Stat. § 24-6-301

Lobbying” means communicating directly, or soliciting others to communicate, with a covered official for the purpose of aiding in or influencing

  • The drafting, introduction, sponsorship, consideration, debate, amendment, passage, defeat, approval, or veto by any covered official on:
    • Any bill, resolution, amendment, nomination, appointment, or report, whether or not in writing, pending or proposed for consideration by either house of the general assembly or committee thereof, whether or not the general assembly is in session;
    • Any other matter pending or proposed in writing by any covered official for consideration by either house of the general assembly or a committee thereof, whether or not the general assembly is in session;
  • The convening of a special session of the general assembly or the specification of business to be transacted at such special session;
  • The drafting, consideration, amendment, adoption, or defeat of any rule, standard, or rate of any state agency having rule-making authority.

Colo. Rev. Stat. § 24-6-301

Lobbying” does NOTinclude

  • communications by a person who appears before a committee of the general assembly or a rule-making board or commission solely as a result of an affirmative vote by the committee, board, or commission issuing a mandatory order or subpoena commanding that the person appear and testify, or making such a person a respondent in such a proceeding whether or not the person is reimbursed by the committee, board, or commission for expenses incurred in making such appearance
  • appearances limited to giving testimony or providing information to committees of the general assembly or at public hearings of state agencies or giving testimony or providing information at the request of public officials or employees, where the person and the interest for whom they are testifying or providing information have been clearly identified
  • communications made by an attorney-at-law when such communications are made on behalf of a client whose name has been identified and when such communications constitute the practice of law subject to control by the judicial branch of the state of Colorado
  • duties performed by employees of the legislative department

Colo. Rev. Stat. § 24-6-301

Professional lobbyists in Colorado are required to register with and obtain a certificate of registration from the Colorado Secretary of State on or before July 15th of each year. The fee is $40, and registration is valid until the following July 1st. Volunteer lobbyists are required to register with the Chief Clerk of the House of Representatives.

Professional lobbyists and lobbying firms in Colorado must also file: monthly financial disclosure statements within 15 days after the end of a calendar month in which any contribution or gross income for lobbying is received or any expenditure is made or incurred for lobbying; and an annual cumulative disclosure statement for the entire fiscal year on or before July 15th.

Form Type / NameForm Number / Link
Colorado Regulation of LobbyistsColo. Rev. Stat. § 24-6-301-309
Colorado Secretary of State: Request User ID for Online Filing Request User ID

Shipping Regulations

Colorado does not have any specific restrictions concerning the shipping of tobacco products to consumers. 

It is unlawful for any person to engage in the business of a distributor of tobacco products at any place of business without first obtaining a license granted and issued by the Department of Revenue, which license will be in effect until June 30 following the date of issue. A tobacco distributor license is required when a distributor ships or transports tobacco products to retailers in Colorado, or shipments are made from two or more separate locations, a license for each location is required.

Col. Rev. Stat. § 39-28.5-104: Licensing require – rules – fines

Colorado Department of Revenue, Tax Division: Tobacco Tax – Account/License

Additional information about licensing in Colorado is available under the Operating Your Business tab above.

Colorado does not have any specific age verification requirements for the shipping of tobacco products. 

Colorado imposes two taxes on the sale, use, consumption, handling, or distribution of all tobacco products in the state. These taxes are imposed at the time the distributor: brings tobacco products or causes tobacco products to be brought into Colorado for sale; makes, manufactures, or fabricates tobacco products in Colorado for sale in Colorado; or ships or transports tobacco products to retailers in Colorado to be sold by those retailers. Any person in possession of untaxed tobacco products from a distributor who neglected to remit taxes must file a tax return within 30 days of taking possession of the products.

Tobacco is taxed at the time the distributor ships or transports tobacco products to retailers in Colorado to be sold by those retailers.

Where tobacco products, upon which the tax has been reported and paid, are shipped or transported by the distributor to retailers without the state to be sold by those retailers, are shipped or transported by the distributor to a consumer without the state on or after September 1, 2015, but prior to September 1, 2018, or are returned to the manufacturer by the distributor or destroyed by the distributor, credit of such tax may be made to the distributor in accordance with regulations prescribed by the Department of Revenue.

Colorado law allows any city or town to impose, levy, and collect an additional tax on tobacco products.

Colo. Rev. Stat. § 39-28.5-102: Tax levied

Colo. Rev. Stat. § 39-28.5-102.5: Tax levied – state constitution

Colo. Rev. Stat. § 39-28.5-107: When credit may be obtained for tax paid

Colo. Rev. Stat. § 39-28.5-109: Taxation by cities and towns

Colorado Department of Revenue: Tobacco Tax

Additional information about taxation in Colorado, including information about tax rates, filings, and forms, is available under the Taxation and Definitions tabs above.


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.