Kentucky

Alerts & Updates

Key Contacts

Kentucky Department of Revenue
Excise Tax Section
(502) 564-6823 

Kentucky Legislative Ethics Commission
(502) 573-2863
(502) 573-2929 fax
Contact Us

Kentucky Executive Branch Ethics Commission
(502) 564-7954
(502) 564-2686 fax
Comments, Suggestions, and Questions

PCA Contact

David Jessup david@premiumcigars.org

Legislative Information

Taxation

Kentucky imposes an excise tax on every distributor for the privilege of selling tobacco products in the state. The licensed distributor that first possesses tobacco products for sale to a retailer in Kentucky or for sale to a person who does not hold a tobacco products license will be the distributor liable for the tax. However, a licensed distributor may sell tobacco products to another licensed distributor without payment of the excise tax. In such a case, the purchasing licensed distributor will be liable for the tax.

Ky. Rev. Stat. § 138.140(4): State tax and surtax on sale of cigarettes; Excise tax on distributors and licensed retail distributors of tobacco products; Rates; Liability for and remittance of tax; Administrative Regulations; General Assembly’s recognition of the effect of increased tobacco taxes on public health


Department of Revenue staff reported that Kentucky localities do not impose additional taxes on tobacco products.

The tax on tobacco products other than snuff and chewing tobacco is 15% of the actual price for which the distributor sells tobacco products. The tax on snuff is $0.19 per each 1 and 1/2 ounces or portion thereof by net weight sold. The tax on chewing tobacco is: $0.19 per each single unit sold; $0.40 per each 1/2 pound unit sold; or $0.65 per each pound unit sold.

Ky. Rev. Stat. § 138.140(4): State tax and surtax on sale of cigarettes; Excise tax on distributors and licensed retail distributors of tobacco products; Rates; Liability for and remittance of tax; Administrative Regulations; General Assembly’s recognition of the effect of increased tobacco taxes on public health

Licensed tobacco products distributors and retail distributors that first possess tobacco products for sale to a retailer in Kentucky or for sale to a person who does not hold a tobacco products license must file a Monthly Report of Tobacco Products, Snuff, and Chewing Tobacco (Form 73A422) on or before the 20th day of each month, along with payment for taxes due. A tax return must be filed for each reporting period, whether or not tax is due.

Ky. Rev. Stat. § 138.195(13-14): License required for various dealers; Fees; Revocation of licenses; Appeals; Records; Reports; Administrative regulations; Tax returns

Form Type / NameForm Number / Link
Kentucky Department of Revenue: Tobacco Tax FormsTobacco Tax Forms
Monthly Report of Tobacco Products, Snuff, and Chewing TobaccoForm 73A422
Monthly Report of Tobacco Products, Snuff, and Chewing Tobacco – InstructionsInstructions

Cigar and Smoking Tobacco Definitions

Cigarettes” means any roll for smoking made wholly or in part of tobacco, or any substitute for tobacco, irrespective of size or shape and whether or not the tobacco is flavored, adulterated, or mixed with any other ingredient, the wrapper or cover of which is made of paper or any other substance or material, except tobacco. “Cigarettes” does not include a reference to tobacco products or electronic cigarettes.

Ky. Rev. Stat. § 138.130(2)

 “Tobacco products” Tobacco products” means any smokeless tobacco products, smoking tobacco, chewing tobacco, and any kind or form of tobacco prepared in a manner suitable for chewing or smoking, or both, or any kind or form of tobacco that is suitable to be placed in an individual’s oral cavity, except cigarettes.

Ky. Rev. Stat. § 138.130(16)

Chewing tobacco” is any leaf tobacco that is not intended to be smoked and includes loose leaf chewing tobacco, plug chewing tobacco, and twist chewing tobacco, but does not include snuff.

Ky. Rev. Stat. § 138.130(19)

Snuff” is tobacco that is finely cut, ground, or powdered, and is not for smoking, including snus.

Ky. Rev. Stat. § 138.130(23)

A “retailer” is any person who sells to a consumer or to any person for any purpose other than resale.

Ky. Rev. Stat. § 138.130(3)

A “retail distributor” is retail who has obtained a retail distributor’s license under 

Ky. Rev. Stat. § 138.195(7)(b).

Ky. Rev. Stat. § 138.130(18)

A “distributor” is any person within the state in possession of tobacco products for resale within the state on which the tobacco products tax has not been paid.

Ky. Rev. Stat. § 138.130(17)

A “manufacturer” is any person who manufactures or produces cigarettes or tobacco products within or without the state.

Ky. Rev. Stat. § 138.130(2)

Sale” or “sell” means any transfer for consideration, exchange, barter, gift, offer for sale, advertising for sale, soliciting an order for cigarettes or tobacco products, and distribution in any manner or by any means whatsoever.

Ky. Rev. Stat. § 138.130(7)

Restrictions

Kentucky law prohibits smoking: in office buildings and common areas occupied by Executive Branch employees, including state-operated hospitals and residential facilities for the intellectually disabled, state-operated veterans’ nursing homes and health facilities, and any correctional facility owned by, operated by, or under the jurisdiction of the state; and in any school building or any part of any building used for school purposes, or upon school grounds, while children are assembled there for lawful purposes, except adult employees of the school system who smoke in a designated room and except in designated areas in secondary schools.

Executive Order 2006-0807 (2006)


Kentucky HB 11 (2019) prohibits the use of tobacco products, alternative nicotine products, or vapor products in all properties owned, operated, leased, or contracted for use by board of education. It prohibits the use of these products by all students while attending or participating in any school-related activity or trip. It also prohibits school district employees, volunteers, and all other individuals affiliated with a school from smoking while attending a school event and in the presence of students.

This measure also requires a local board of educations to implement this section by adopting written policies that prohibit the use of these products, provide notice to students, parents, and employees, and post signage stating this prohibition. These provisions must be in place by the 2020-2021 school year. 

Ky. Rev. Stat. § 438.050Smoking on school premises; Exception

Ky. Rev. Stat. § 61.165Smoking policy for governmental office buildings or workplaces and postsecondary education institutions


Each board of regents or trustees for each of the state postsecondary education institutions must adopt a written policy relating to smoking in all buildings owned by, operated by, or under the jurisdiction of the state postsecondary education institutions that will:

  • Provide accessible indoor smoking areas in any buildings where smoking is otherwise restricted, and
  • Favor allowing smoking in open public areas where ventilation and air exchange are adequate and there are no restrictions otherwise placed on the area by the state fire marshal or other similar authority, or
  • Prohibit indoor smoking.

Ky. Rev. Stat. § 61.165(4)Smoking policy for governmental office buildings or workplaces and postsecondary education institutions


Kentucky law does not contain restrictions on smoking in restaurants or bars. Generally, smoking and drinking may, therefore, be allowed in these establishments. However, localities may impose more stringent laws or ordinances.

The Kentucky Supreme Court ruled in 2004 that the smoke-free air ordinance enacted by Lexington, Kentucky was not preempted by state law. This ruling provides legal justification for other Kentucky communities to enact local smoke-free air ordinances.

Lexington-Fayette County Food and Beverage Association v. Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government, 131 S.W.3d 745, 749 (Ky. 2004)

Individuals under 18 years of age cannot possess, use, purchase, accept receipt of, attempt to purchase, attempt to accept receipt of, or present or offer to any person any purported proof of age that is false, fraudulent, or not actually his or her own for the purpose of purchasing or receiving tobacco products, alternative nicotine products, or vapor products. This prohibition does not apply to minors who accept a receipt from an employer when required in the performance of the person’s duties.

Ky. Rev. Stat. § 438.350(1)Prohibition against possession or use of tobacco products, alternative nicotine products, or vapor products by minors; Exceptions

Ky. Rev. Stat. § 438.311(1)Unlawful acts by minors relating to purchase or receipt of tobacco product, alternative nicotine product, or vapor product: Issuance of a uniform citation


Department of Labor and Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control staff reported that the minimum age for minors to be gainfully employed under Kentucky wage and hour laws is 14, and there is no specific minimum age for minors to be employed in tobacco retail stores.

It is illegal for any person to sell or cause to be sold any tobacco product, alternative nicotine product, or vapor product at retail to any person under 18 years of age, or to solicit any person under 18 years of age to purchase any tobacco product, alternative nicotine product, or vapor product at retail.

Any person who sells tobacco products, alternative nicotine products, or vapor products at retail must post in a conspicuous place in his or her establishment a notice stating that it is illegal to sell tobacco products, alternative nicotine products, or vapor products to persons under 18 years of age.

Any person who sells tobacco products, alternative nicotine products, or vapor products must require proof of age from a prospective buyer or recipient if the person has reason to believe that the prospective buyer or recipient is under 18 years of age.

Ky. Rev. Stat. § 438.310Sale of tobacco products, alternative nicotine products, or vapor products to persons under age 18 prohibited; Penalty


It is the intent of the Legislature that Ky. Rev. Stat. § 438.305 to § 438.340 will be enforced in an equitable and uniform manner throughout the Commonwealth. For the purpose of equitable and uniform enforcement, these provisions supersede any subsequently enacted local law, ordinance, or regulation that relates to the use, display, sale, or distribution of tobacco products.

Ky. Rev. Stat. § 438.300Legislative intent

In Kentucky, no wholesaler, retailer, or manufacturer of cigarettes, tobacco products, alternative nicotine products, or vapor products may distribute cigarettes, tobacco products, alternative nicotine products, or vapor products, including samples thereof, free of charge or otherwise, to any person under 18 years of age.

Any person who distributes cigarettes, tobacco products, alternative nicotine products, or vapor products, including samples thereof, free of charge or otherwise must require proof of age from a prospective buyer or recipient if the person has reason to believe that the prospective purchaser or recipient is under 18 years of age.

Distribution of tobacco product samples is subject to the tax and licensing requirements, as the term “sale” is defined as any transfer for a consideration, exchange, barter, gift, offer for sale, advertising for sale, soliciting an order for cigarettes or tobacco products, and distribution in any manner or by any means whatsoever.

Ky. Rev. Stat. § 138.130(7)


It is the intent of the Legislature that Ky. Rev. Stat. § 438.305 to § 438.340 will be enforced in an equitable and uniform manner throughout the Commonwealth. For the purpose of equitable and uniform enforcement, these provisions supersede any subsequently enacted local law, ordinance, or regulation that relates to the use, display, sale, or distribution of tobacco products.

Ky. Rev. Stat. § 438.300Legislative intent

Operating Your Business

No person may act as a distributor or retailer of non-tax paid tobacco products without first obtaining a license from the Department of Revenue. Tobacco products distributors must submit an Application for Cigarette and Tobacco Products Licenses (Form 73A181) and a $500 license fee to obtain a Tobacco Products Distributor License from the Department of Revenue. Tobacco products retailers must submit a Kentucky Tax Registration Application (Form 10A100) to obtain a Sales and Use Tax Permit and Form 73A181 and a $100 license fee to obtain a Retail Distributor License. Licenses expire on July 1st of each year and must be renewed annually by filing the same forms.

Ky. Rev. Stat. § 138.195License required for various dealers; Fees; Revocation of licenses; Appeals; Records; Reports; Administrative regulations; Tax returns


Licensed tobacco products distributors and retail distributors that first possess tobacco products for sale to a retailer in Kentucky or for sale to a person who does not hold a tobacco products license must file a Monthly Report of Tobacco Products, Snuff, and Chewing Tobacco (Form 73A422) on or before the 20th day of each month, along with payment for taxes due. A tax return must be filed for each reporting period, whether or not tax is due.

Ky. Rev. Stat. § 138.195(13-14)License required for various dealers; Fees; Revocation of licenses; Appeals; Records; Reports; Administrative regulations; Tax returns


Kentucky law does not contain restrictions on smoking in restaurants or bars. Generally, smoking and drinking may, therefore, be allowed in these establishments. However, localities may impose more stringent laws or ordinances.

Localities may require additional business licenses.

Form Type / NameForm Number / Link
Kentucky Department of Revenue: Tobacco Tax FormsTobacco Tax Forms
Excel Template for Cigarettes and Tobacco FilingExcel Template
Monthly Report of Tobacco Products, Snuff, and Chewing TobaccoForm 73A42
Monthly Report of Tobacco Products, Snuff, and Chewing Tobacco – InstructionsInstructions

Political Involvement

Lobby” means to promote, advocate, or oppose the passage, modification, defeat, or executive approval or veto of any legislation by direct communication with any member of the General Assembly, the Governor, the secretary of any cabinet, or any member of the staff of any of the officials listed in this paragraph.

Lobbying” does not include:

  • Appearances before public meetings of the committees, subcommittees, task forces, and interim committees of the General Assembly
  • News, editorial, and advertising statements published in newspapers, journals, or magazines, or broadcast over radio or television
  • The gathering and furnishing of information and news by bona fide reporters, correspondents, or news bureaus to news media
  • Publications primarily designed for, and distributed to, members of bona fide associations or charitable or fraternal nonprofit corporations
  • Professional services in drafting bills or resolutions, preparing arguments on these bills or resolutions, or in advising clients and rendering opinions as to the construction and the effect of proposed or pending legislation, if the services are not otherwise connected with lobbying, or
  • The action of any person not engaged by an employer who has a direct interest in legislation, if the person assembles together with other persons for their common good, petitions any official listed in this subsection for the redress of grievances, or other proper purposes

Ky. Rev. Stat. § 6.611(27)

A “legislative agent” is any individual who is engaged:

  • During at least a portion of his or her time to lobby as one of his or her official responsibilities, or
  • In lobbying activities as a legislative liaison of an association, coalition, or public interest entity formed for the purpose of promoting or otherwise influencing legislation

Legislative agent” does not include:

  • Any person who limits his or her lobbying activities to appearing before public meetings of legislative committees, subcommittees, or task forces, or public hearings or meetings of public agencies
  • A private citizen who receives no compensation for lobbying and who expresses a personal opinion, or
  • A public servant acting in his or her fiduciary capacity as a representative of his or her agency, college, university, or city, county, urban-county, consolidated local government, unified local government, or charter county government, except persons engaged by a de jure municipal corporation, such as the Kentucky Lottery Corporation or the Kentucky Housing Corporation, institutions of higher education, or local governments, whose primary responsibility during sessions of the General Assembly is to lobby

Ky. Rev. Stat. § 6.611(23)

An “employer” is any person who engages a legislative agent and in the case of a business other than a sole proprietorship or self-employed individual, it means the business entity, and not an individual officer, director, or employee thereof, except when an officer, director, or employee makes an expenditure for which he or she is reimbursed by the business entity.

Ky. Rev. Stat. § 6.611(12)

Expenditure” means any of the following that is made to, at the request of, for the benefit of, or on behalf of any member of the General Assembly, the Governor, the secretary of a cabinet, or any member of the staff of any of those officials:

  • A payment, distribution, loan, advance, deposit, reimbursement, or gift of money, real estate, or anything of value, including, but not limited to, food and beverages, entertainment, lodging, transportation, or honoraria
  • A contract, promise, or agreement, to make an expenditure, or
  • The purchase, sale, or gift of services or any other thing of value

Expenditure” does not include a contribution, gift, or grant to a foundation or other charitable organization that is exempt from federal income taxation. “Expenditure” also does not include the purchase, sale, or gift of services or any other thing of value that is available to the general public on the same terms as it is available to the persons listed in this subsection.

Ky. Rev. Stat. § 6.611(15)

An “expenditure” is any of the following that is made to, or for the benefit of an elected executive official, the secretary of a cabinet listed in Ky. Rev. Stat. § 12.250, an executive agency official, or a member of the staff of any of the officials listed in this paragraph:

  • A payment, distribution, loan, advance, deposit, reimbursement, or gift of money, real estate, or anything of value, including, but not limited to, food and beverages, entertainment, lodging, transportation, or honoraria
  • A contract, promise, or agreement to make an expenditure, or
  • The purchase, sale, or gift of services or any other thing of value

Expenditure” does not include a contribution, gift, or grant to a foundation or other charitable organization that is exempt from federal income taxation. “Expenditure” does not include the purchase, sale, or gift of services or any other thing of value that is available to the general public on the same terms as it is available to the persons listed in this subsection. “Expenditure” does not include a payment, contribution, gift, purchase, or any other thing of value that is made to or on behalf of any elected executive official, the secretary of a cabinet, an executive agency official, or any member of the staff of any of the officials listed in this paragraph who works for a state agency for which the executive agency lobbyist is not registered to influence.

Ky. Rev. Stat. § 11A.201(2)

 “Executive agency lobbying activity” means contacts made to promote, oppose, or otherwise influence the outcome of an executive agency decision by direct communication with an elected executive official, the secretary of any cabinet, any executive agency official, or a member of the staff of any one of the officials listed in this paragraph.

Executive agency lobbying activity” does not include any of the following:

  • The action of any person having a direct interest in executive agency decisions, if the person acting under Section 1 of the Kentucky Constitution, assembles together with other persons for their common good, petitions any person listed in paragraph (a) of this subsection for the redress of grievances or other proper purposes
  • Contacts made for the sole purpose of gathering the information contained in a public record, or
  • Appearances before public meetings of executive agencies

Ky. Rev. Stat. § 11A.201(9)

An “executive agency lobbyist” is any person engaged to influence executive agency decisions or to conduct executive agency lobbying activity as one of his main purposes on a substantial basis. The term “executive agency lobbyist” also includes placement agents and unregulated placement agents.

Executive agency lobbyist” does not include an elected or appointed officer or employee of a federal or state agency, state college, state university, or political subdivision who attempts to influence or affect executive agency decisions in his fiduciary capacity as a representative of his agency, college, university, or political subdivision.

Ky. Rev. Stat. § 11A.201(8)

There are two types of lobbying in Kentucky: Legislative Lobbying and Executive Agency Lobbying. If a person is attempting to promote, advocate, or oppose the passage, modification, defeat, or executive approval or veto of any bill, resolution, amendment, nomination, and any other matter pending before the General Assembly, executive approval or veto of any bill acted upon by the General Assembly, then he or she is conducting Legislative Lobbying and must register as a legislative agent with the Kentucky Legislative Ethics Commission (KLEC). If a person is attempting to promote, oppose, or otherwise influence the outcome of an executive agency decision, then he or she is conducting Executive Agency Lobbying and must register as an executive agency lobbyist with the Executive Branch Ethics Commission (EBEC).

Each legislative agent and employer must file an Initial Registration Statement with KLEC within 7 days following the engagement of a legislative agent. The registration will be valid through the next December 31st of an odd-numbered year. Each legislative agent and employer must also file Updated Registration Statements and Financial Disclosure Statements with KLEC on or before the 15th day of January, February, March, April, May, and September of each year. Each employer of one or more legislative agents must pay a registration fee of $250. Statements may be filed online with the Kentucky Legislative Ethics Commission

If you will be filing Initial Registration Statements for new lobbyists or new employers/real parties after July 1, 2019, you must use the new 5/2019 version of the Initial Registration Statement. The revised 5/2019 Initial Registration Statement is located on the right at the top of this page.  Any Initial Registration Statements filed after July 1, 2019 on outdated forms will be returned for correction and will not be in compliance. 

Ky. Rev. Stat. § 6.807: Registrationstatements for legislative agents; Penalties

Ky. Rev. Stat. § 6.809: Registration fee; Trust and agency account

Ky. Rev. Stat. § 6.821: Statements of expenditures; Penalties


Each executive agency lobbyist, employer, and real party in interest must file an Initial Registration Statement with EBEC within 10 days following engagement of an executive agency lobbyist. The registration will be valid through July 31st of the following year. Each executive agency lobbyist, employer, and real party in interest must also file Updated Registration Statements and Financial Disclosure Statements with EBEC on or before July 31st of every year. Each employer of one or more executive agency lobbyists must pay a registration fee of $125 with each Updated Registration Statement. Statements must be faxed to (502) 564-2686 or mailed to #3 Fountain Place Frankfort, Kentucky 40601.

Upon registration, an executive agency lobbyist shall be issued a card annually by the commission showing the executive agency lobbyist is registered. The registration card shall be valid from the date of its issuance through the thirty-first day of July of the following year.

Ky. Rev. Stat. § 11A.211: Registration statements for executive agency lobbyists, their employers, and real parties in interest; Fee; Trust and agency account for commission operations; Relationship of registration to state contracts

Ky. Rev. Stat. § 11A.216: Statements of expenditures

Form Type / NameForm Number / Link
Kentucky Legislative Ethics Commission (KLEC): Blank FormsBlank Forms
Kentucky Legislative Ethics Commission (KLEC): Online FilingOnline Filing
Kentucky Executive Branch Ethics Commission (EBEC): How to RegisterHow to Register
Kentucky Executive Branch Ethics Commission (EBEC): Lobbying GuideLobbying Guide

Shipping Regulations

Every manufacturer, whether located in Kentucky or outside of Kentucky, that ships tobacco products to a distributor, retailer, retail distributor, or any other person location in Kentucky shall file a report with the Department of Revenue on or before the 20th of each month identifying all shipments made by the manufacturer during the preceding month. 

Ky. Rev. Stat. § 138.135: Manufacturers to report all shipments of tobacco products into or within the state


No person may act as a distributor or retailer of non-tax paid tobacco products without first obtaining a license from the Department of Revenue. Tobacco products distributors must submit an Application for Cigarette and Tobacco Products Licenses (Form 73A181) and a $500 license fee to obtain a Tobacco Products Distributor License from the Department of Revenue. Tobacco products retailers must submit a Kentucky Tax Registration Application (Form 10A100) to obtain a Sales and Use Tax Permit and Form 73A181 and a $100 license fee to obtain a Retail Distributor License. Licenses expire on July 1st of each year and must be renewed annually by filing the same forms.

Ky. Rev. Stat. § 138.195License required for various dealers; Fees; Revocation of licenses; Appeals; Records; Reports; Administrative regulations; Tax returns


Additional information about licensing in Kentucky is available at the Operating Your Business and Definitions link above.

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

Kentucky imposes an excise tax on every distributor for the privilege of selling tobacco products in the state. The licensed distributor that first possesses tobacco products for sale to a retailer in Kentucky or for sale to a person who does not hold a tobacco products license will be the distributor liable for the tax. However, a licensed distributor may sell tobacco products to another licensed distributor without payment of the excise tax. In such a case, the purchasing licensed distributor will be liable for the tax. According to staff, there is no extra tax for shipping tobacco products.

Ky. Rev. Stat. § 138.140(4)State tax and surtax on sale of cigarettes; Excise tax on distributors and licensed retail distributors of tobacco products; Rates; Liability for and remittance of tax; Administrative Regulations; General Assembly’s recognition of effect of increased tobacco taxes on public health


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.