Iowa

Alerts & Updates

Key Contacts

Iowa Department of Revenue
https://tax.iowa.gov/contact-us

Iowa Legislature
Lobbyist Clerk
(515) 281-5932

PCA Contact

Brett Mecum brett@premiumcigars.org

Legislative Information

Taxation

Iowa imposes a tax on all tobacco products in the state and on any person engaged in business as a distributor of tobacco products. The tax is imposed at the time the distributor: brings, or causes to be brought, into Iowa tobacco products for sale; makes, manufactures, or fabricates tobacco products in Iowa for sale in the state; or ships or transports tobacco products to retailers in Iowa, to be sold by those retailers. Consumers who use or store untaxed tobacco products in the state are also liable for the tax.

Iowa Code § 453A.43: Tax on tobacco products


The tax on tobacco products is in addition to all other occupation or privilege taxes or license fees now or hereafter imposed by any city or county. However, for the purpose of equitable and uniform implementation, application, and enforcement of state and local laws and regulations, the provisions of Iowa Code ch. 453A shall supersede any local law or regulation which is inconsistent with or conflicts with the provisions of the chapter.

Iowa Code § 453A.43(7): Tax on tobacco products

Iowa Code § 453A.56: Uniform application

The tax on tobacco products is 50% of the wholesale sales price of the products, except that the total tax on cigars may not exceed $0.50 per cigar, and the tax on snuff is $1.19 per ounce and a proportionate tax on all fractional parts of an ounce.

Iowa Code § 453A.43: Tax on tobacco products

On or before the 20th day of each month, every licensed in-state or out-of-state distributor must file a Tobacco Products Monthly Tax Return (Form 70-022 for in-state distributors and Form 70-026 for out-of-state distributors), along with payment for taxes due.

Iowa Code § 453A.46: Distributors, monthly returns; interest, penalties

Form Type / NameForm Number / Link
Iowa Department of Revenue: Tax Forms SearchTax Forms Search

Cigar and Smoking Tobacco Definitions

 “Smoking” means inhaling, exhaling, burning, or carrying any lighted cigar, cigarette, pipe, or other tobacco product in any manner or in any form. “Smoking” does not include smoking that is associated with a recognized religious ceremony, ritual, or activity, including but not limited to the burning of incense.

Iowa Code § 142D.2(21)

Tobacco products” means cigars, little 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, or 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 smoking in a pipe or otherwise, or both for chewing and smoking, but does not mean cigarettes.

Iowa Code § 453A.42(15)

Snuff” is any finely cut, ground, or powdered tobacco that is not intended to be smoked.

Iowa Code § 453A.42(12)

Distributor” means:

  • Any person engaged in the business of selling tobacco products in Iowa who brings, or causes to be brought, into the state any tobacco products for sale
  • Any person who makes, manufactures, or fabricates tobacco products in Iowa for sale in the state, or
  • Any person engaged in the business of selling tobacco products without Iowa who ships or transports tobacco products to retailers in the state, to be sold by those retailers

Iowa Code § 453A.42(4)

Retailer” means any person engaged in the business of selling tobacco, tobacco products, alternative nicotine products, or vapor products to ultimate consumers.

Iowa Code § 453A.42(10)

Subjobber” means any person, other than a manufacturer or distributor, who buys tobacco products from a distributor and sells them to persons other than the ultimate consumers.

Iowa Code § 453A.42(14)

Wholesale sales price” means the established price for which a manufacturer sells a tobacco product to a distributor, exclusive of any discount or other reduction.

Iowa Code § 453A.42(17)

Sale” means any transfer, exchange, or barter, in any manner or by any means whatsoever, for a consideration, and includes and means all sales made by any person. It includes a gift by a person engaged in the business of selling tobacco products, for advertising, as a means of evading the provisions of this division, or for any other purposes whatsoever.

Iowa Code § 453A.42(11)

Restrictions

Iowa law prohibits smoking: in public places, including financial institutions, restaurants, bars, public and private educational facilities, health care provider locations, hotels and motels, laundromats, public transportation facilities and conveyances such as buses and taxicabs, aquariums, galleries, libraries, museums, retail food production and marketing establishments, retail service establishments, retail stores, shopping malls, entertainment venues, polling places, convention facilities and meeting rooms, public buildings and vehicles, service lines, private clubs when open to the general public, child care facilities and child care homes, gambling structures, excursion gambling boats, and racetrack enclosures; in enclosed areas within places of employment, including work areas, private offices, conference and meeting rooms, classrooms, auditoriums, employee lounges and cafeterias, hallways, medical facilities, restrooms, elevators, stairways and stairwells, and vehicles owned, leased, or provided by the employer; in the seating areas of outdoor sports arenas, stadiums, amphitheaters, and other entertainment venues where members of the general public assemble to witness entertainment events; in outdoor seating or serving areas of restaurants; in public transit stations, platforms, and shelters; on school grounds, including parking lots, athletic fields, playgrounds, tennis courts, and any other outdoor area under the control of a public or private educational facility, including inside any vehicle located on such school grounds; and on the grounds of any public buildings owned, leased, or operated by or under the control of the state government or its political subdivisions, including the grounds of a private residence of any state employee any portion of which is open to the public.

Iowa Code § 142D.3: Prohibition of smoking; public places, places of employment, and outdoor areas

Iowa Code § 142D.2: Definitions


The owner, operator, manager, or other person having custody or control of a place where smoking is prohibited must clearly and conspicuously post in and at every entrance to the place “no smoking” signs or the international “no smoking” symbol. All signs must contain the telephone number for reporting complaints and the internet site of the Department of Public Health.

Iowa Code § 142D.6: Notice of nonsmoking requirements; posting of signs


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

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

  • Private residences, except when used as a childcare facility, childcare home, or a health care provider location
  • Designated hotel and motel guest rooms
  • Retail tobacco stores, provided that smoke from these locations does not infiltrate into areas in which smoking is otherwise prohibited
    • A “retail tobacco store” is a retail store utilized primarily for the sale of tobacco products and accessories and in which the sale of other products is incidental to the sale of tobacco products.
    • “Incidental to the sale of tobacco products” means that the gross revenue of a retail tobacco store derived from the sale of products other than tobacco products is not more than 20% of the retail tobacco store’s total gross revenue.
  • Private and semiprivate rooms in long-term care facilities, occupied by one or more individuals, all of whom are smokers and have requested in writing to be placed in a room where smoking is permitted, provided that smoke from these locations does not infiltrate into areas in which smoking is otherwise prohibited
  • Private clubs that have no employees, except when used for a function to which the general public is invited, provided that smoke from these locations does not infiltrate into areas in which smoking is otherwise prohibited
  • Outdoor areas that are places of employment, except those areas where smoking is specifically prohibited
  • Limousines under private hire, vehicles owned, leased, or provided by a private employer that are for the sole use of the driver and are not used by more than one person in the course of employment either as a driver or passenger, privately owned vehicles not otherwise defined as a place of employment or public place, and cabs of motor trucks or truck tractors if no nonsmoking employees are present
  • An enclosed area within a place of employment or public place that provides a smoking cessation program or a medical or scientific research or therapy program, if smoking is an integral part of the program
  • Farm tractors, farm trucks, and implements of husbandry when being used for their intended purposes
  • The gaming floor of licensed premises exclusive of any bar or restaurant located within the gaming floor which is an enclosed area and subject to smoking prohibitions
  • The Iowa veterans home

Iowa Code § 142D.4: Areas where smoking not regulated

Iowa Code § 142D.2: Definitions

Iowa Admin. Code § 641-153.2: Definitions


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

Individuals under 18 years of age cannot smoke, use, possess, purchase, attempt to purchase any tobacco, tobacco products, alternative nicotine products, vapor products, or cigarettes. Possession of tobacco, tobacco products, alternative nicotine products, vapor products, or cigarettes by an individual under 18 years of age is not illegal if the individual under 18 years of age possesses the tobacco, tobacco products, alternative nicotine products, vapor products, or cigarettes as part of the individual’s employment and the individual is employed by a person who holds a valid Tobacco Permit or who lawfully offers for sale or sells cigarettes or tobacco products. Division of Labor Services staff reported that a minor under 18 years of age can sell, stock, or handle tobacco if the conditions above are met and that the minimum age to work in Iowa is 14.

Iowa Code § 453A.2(2-3): Persons under the legal age


Similarly, it is illegal to sell, give, or otherwise supply any tobacco, tobacco products, alternative nicotine products, vapor products, or cigarettes to any person under 18 years of age.

Iowa Code § 453A.2(1): Persons under the legal age


For the purpose of equitable and uniform implementation, application, and enforcement of state and local laws and regulations, the provisions of Iowa Code ch. 453Ashall supersede any local law or regulation which is inconsistent with or conflicts with the provisions of the chapter.

Iowa Code § 453A.56: Uniform application

In Iowa, a manufacturer, distributor, wholesaler, retailer, or distributing agent or agent thereof may not give away any tobacco, tobacco products, alternative nicotine products, vapor products, or cigarettes to any person under 18 years of age, or within 500 feet of any playground, school, high school, or other facility when such facility is being used primarily by persons under 18 years of age for recreational, educational, or other purposes.

Iowa Code § 453A.39: Tobacco, tobacco products, alternative nicotine products, vapor products, and cigarette samples; restrictions; administration


Distribution of tobacco samples is subject to tax and licensing requirements, as “sale” includes a gift by a person engaged in the business of selling tobacco products, for advertising, as a means of evading the provisions of this division, or for any other purposes whatsoever.

Iowa Code § 453A.42(11)


For the purpose of equitable and uniform implementation, application, and enforcement of state and local laws and regulations, the provisions of Iowa Code ch. 453A shall supersede any local law or regulation which is inconsistent with or conflicts with the provisions of the chapter.

Iowa Code § 453A.56: Uniform application

Operating Your Business

A person may not engage in the business of a retailer of tobacco, tobacco products, alternative nicotine products, or vapor products without first having obtained a Retail Tobacco Permit for each place of business from the Department of Revenue by filing an Application for Iowa Retail Cigarette/Tobacco/Nicotine/Vapor Permit (Form 70-014) and a location-based fee (in places outside any city – $50; in cities of less than 15,000 population – $75; and in cities of 15,000 or more population – $100). All permits expire on June 30th of each year and must be renewed annually by filing the same forms.

Iowa Code § 453A.47A: Retailers; permits; fees; penalties


No person may engage in the business of a distributor or subjobber of tobacco products without first having obtained a Tobacco Tax License for each place of business from the Department of Revenue by filing an Annual Application for Iowa Cigarette Permit/Tobacco Tax License (Form 70-015) and the applicable license fee ($100 for distributors and $10 for subjobbers). Distributors must also file an Iowa Cigarette/Tobacco Surety Bond (Form 70-031) in the amount of $1,000. Licenses expire every year on June 30th and must be renewed annually by filing the same forms.

Iowa Code § 453A.44: Licenses; distributors, subjobbers


On or before the 20th day of each month, every licensed in-state or out-of-state distributor must file a Tobacco Products Monthly Tax Return (Form 70-022 for in-state distributors and Form 70-026 for out-of-state distributors), along with payment for taxes due.

Iowa Code § 453A.46: Distributors, monthly returns; interest, penalties.


Iowa law does not contain the smoking ban exemptions for bars or restaurants. These establishments, therefore, may not allow both smoking and drinking. Iowa law does include an exemption from the smoking ban for retail tobacco stores, but no specific application procedure is provided. Localities may have specific requirements.Localities may also require additional business licenses.

Form Type / NameForm Number / Link
Iowa Department of Revenue: Tax Forms SearchTax Forms

Political Involvement

 “Lobbyist” means an individual who, by acting directly, does any of the following:

  • Receives compensation to encourage the passage, defeat, approval, veto, or modification of legislation, a rule, or an executive order by the members of the general assembly, a state agency, or any statewide elected official
  • Is a designated representative of an organization which has as one of its purposes the encouragement of the passage, defeat, approval, veto, or modification of legislation, a rule, or an executive order before the general assembly, a state agency, or any statewide elected official
  • Represents the position of a federal, state, or local government agency, in which the person serves or is employed as the designated representative, for purposes of encouraging the passage, defeat, approval, veto, or modification of legislation, a rule, or an executive order by members of the general assembly, a state agency, or any statewide elected official
  • Makes expenditures of more than $1,000 in a calendar year, other than to pay compensation to an individual who provides the services specified under the first subparagraph or to communicate with only the members of the general assembly who represent the district in which the individual resides, to communicate in person with members of the general assembly, a state agency, or any statewide elected official for purposes of encouraging the passage, defeat, approval, veto, or modification of legislation, a rule, or an executive order

Lobbyist” does not include:

  • Officials and employees of a political party organized in the state of Iowa representing more than two percent of the total votes cast for governor in the last preceding general election, but only when representing the political party in an official capacity
  • Representatives of the news media only when engaged in the reporting and dissemination of news and editorials
  • All federal, state, and local elected officials, while performing the duties and responsibilities of the office
  • Persons whose activities are limited to appearances to give testimony or provide information or assistance at sessions of committees of the general assembly or at public hearings of state agencies or who are giving testimony or providing information or assistance at the request of public officials or employees
  • Members of the staff of the United States Congress or the Iowa General Assembly
  • Agency officials and employees while they are engaged in activities within the agency in which they serve or are employed or with another agency with which the official’s or employee’s agency is involved in a collaborative project
  • An individual who is a member, director, trustee, officer, or committee member of a business, trade, labor, farm, professional, religious, education, or charitable association, foundation, or organization who either is not paid compensation or is not specifically designated
  • Persons whose activities are limited to submitting data, views, or arguments in writing, or requesting an opportunity to make an oral presentation

Iowa Code § 68B.2(13)

All lobbyists must, on or before the day their lobbying activity begins, register by electronically filing a Lobbyist’s Registration Statement. Registration is valid from the date of registration until the end of each calendar year and must be renewed electronically each year. 

Iowa Code § 68B.36: Applicability; lobbyist registration required


On or before July 31st of each year, a lobbyist’s client must electronically file with the General Assembly a report that contains information on all salaries, fees, retainers, and reimbursement of expenses paid by the lobbyist’s client to the lobbyist for lobbying purposes during the preceding twelve calendar months, concluding on June 30 of each year.

Iowa Code § 68B.38: Lobbyist’s client reporting

Form Type / NameForm Number / Link
Iowa Legislature: Lobbyist Online FilingLobbyist Login
Lobbyist Registration, Declaration, and Reporting Online SystemLobbyist Info and Online System
Lobbyist Training VideoLobbyist Training Video

Shipping Regulations

As a matter of state law, a person cannot engage in the business of a distributor or subjobber, including shipping and transporting tobacco products, without first having received a license. A person outside of the state who ships or transports tobacco products to retailers in Iowa, to be sold by those retailers, may apply for a license as a distributor and be granted a license. Additional information about licensing in Iowa is available at the Operating Your Business link above.

At each licensed place of business, every distributor is required to keep complete and accurate records for that place of business, including itemized invoices of tobacco products brought in or caused to be brought in from outside of the state, or shipped or transported to retailers in-state.

Records of all deliveries or shipments of tobacco products from any public warehouse of first destination in-state must be kept by the warehouse and be available for inspection. The record must show the name and address of the consignee, the date, and the number of tobacco products delivered. 

In addition, the transportation of tobacco products into Iowa by means other than common carrier must be reported within thirty days to the Director of the Department of Revenue with the following exceptions: 

  • The transportation of not more than fifty cigars, not more than ten ounces of snuff or snuff powder, or not more than one pound of smoking or chewing tobacco or other tobacco products; 
  • Transportation by a person with a place of business outside the state, who is licensed as a distributor under Iowa state law, or tobacco products sold by such person to a retailer in Iowa.

Common carriers transporting tobacco products into Iowa must file reports of all such shipments other than those which are delivered to public warehouses of the first destination. 

Iowa Code § 453A.44

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

Iowa Code § 453A.2(1)

Iowa imposes a tax on all tobacco products in the state and on any person engaged in business as a distributor of tobacco products. The tax is imposed at the time the distributor: brings, or causes to be brought into Iowa, tobacco products for sale; or ships or transports tobacco products to retailers in Iowa, to be sold by those retailers.

Iowa Code § 453A.43: Tax on tobacco products

Iowa Code § 453A.44: Licenses — distributors, subjobbers

Iowa Code § 453A.45: Licensees, duties.

Iowa Code § 453A.46: Distributors, monthly returns — interest, penalties


Additional information about taxation in Iowa, including information about tax rates, filings, and forms, is available at the Taxation and Definitions link 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.