Montana

Alerts & Updates

Key Contacts

Montana Department of Revenue
Citizen Services Call Center
(406) 444-6900

Montana Commissioner of Political Practices
(406) 444-2942
cpphelp@mt.gov  

PCA Contact

Tyler Henson tyler@premiumcigars.org

Legislative Information

Taxation

Montana imposes a tax on wholesalers of all tobacco products other than cigarettes. The tax is pre-collected and paid by a wholesaler to the Department of Revenue upon sale to a Montana retailer. Retailers who purchase tobacco products for resale on which the tobacco products tax has not been collected and paid are liable for payment of the tax. The Department of Revenue adopted rules that classify certain little cigars as cigarettes for tax purposes. 

Mont. Code Ann. § 16-11-111(7-9): Cigarette, tobacco products, and moist snuff sales tax; exemption for sale to tribal member

Mont. Admin Code r. 42.31.206, 42.31.207, 42.31.208


Department of Revenue staff reported that Montana localities do not levy additional taxes on tobacco products.

The tax on tobacco products other than cigarettes and moist snuff is 50% of the wholesale price. The tax on moist snuff is $0.85 cents per ounce based on the net weight of the package listed by the manufacturer and a proportional tax for each fractional part of an ounce.

Mont. Code Ann. § 16-11-111(7): Cigarette, tobacco products, and moist snuff sales tax; exemption for sale to a tribal member

Every wholesaler, tobacco products vendor, subjobber, and retailer who acquires non-tax paid tobacco products must submit an Other Tobacco Products and Moist Snuff Tax Return (Form TP-101) on or before the 10th day of each month.

Mont. Code Ann. § 16-11-128: Tobacco product sales reporting requirements

Tax returns may be filed through the Montana Department of Revenue Taxpayer Access Point (TAP).

Form Type / NameForm Number / Link
Montana Department of Revenue: Business FormsBusiness Forms
Cigarettes TaxesCigarettes Taxes
Moist Snuff TaxesMoist Snuff Taxes
Other Tobacco Products TaxesOTP Taxes
Montana Department of Revenue Taxpayer Access Point (TAP)TAP

Cigar and Smoking Tobacco Definitions

Smoking” or “to smoke” includes the act of lighting, smoking, or carrying a lighted cigar, cigarette, pipe, or any smokable product and includes the use of marijuana for a debilitating medical condition.

Mont. Code Ann. § 50-40-103

Tobacco product” means cigarettes and all other products containing tobacco that is intended for human consumption or use.

Mont. Code Ann. § 16-11-102(r)

Moist snuff” means any finely cut, ground, or powdered tobacco, other than dry snuff, that is intended to be placed in the oral cavity.

Mont. Code Ann. § 16-11-102(k)

Retailer” means a person, other than a wholesaler, who is engaged in the business of selling tobacco products to the ultimate consumer. The term includes a person who operates fewer than 10 tobacco product vending machines.

Mont. Code Ann. § 16-11-102(m)

Wholesaler” means a person who:

  • purchases tobacco products from a manufacturer for the purpose of selling tobacco products to subjobbers, tobacco product vendors, wholesalers, or retailers; or
  • purchases tobacco products from a sole distributor, another wholesaler, or any other person for the purpose of selling tobacco products to subjobbers, tobacco product vendors, wholesalers, or retailers.

Mont. Code Ann. § 16-11-102(u)

Tobacco product vendor” means a person doing business in the state who purchases tobacco products through a wholesaler, subjobber, or retailer for 10 or more tobacco product vending machines that the person operates for a profit in premises or locations other than the person’s own. A tobacco product vendor must be treated as a wholesaler.

Mont. Code Ann. § 16-11-102(s)

Subjobber” means a person who purchases from a licensed wholesaler cigarette with the Montana cigarette tax insignia affixed and sells or offers to sell tobacco products to a licensed retailer or tobacco product vendor. An isolated sale or exchange of cigarettes between licensed retailers does not constitute those retailers as subjobbers.

Mont. Code Ann. § 16-11-102(q)

Manufacturer” means any person who fabricates tobacco products from raw materials for the purpose of resale.

Mont. Code Ann. § 16-11-102(i)

Distribute” means:

  • to give, deliver, sample, or sell;
  • to offer to give, deliver, sample, or sell; or
  • to cause or hire another person to give, deliver, sample, or sell or offer to give, deliver, sample, or sell

Mont. Code Ann. § 16-11-302(1)

Mont. Code Ann. § 16-11-302(2)

Wholesale price” means the established price for which a manufacturer sells a tobacco product to a wholesaler or any other person before any discount or reduction.

Mont. Code Ann. § 16-11-102(t)

Sale” or “sell” means any transfer of tobacco products for consideration, exchange, barter, gift, offer for sale, or distribution in any manner or by any means.

Mont. Code Ann. § 16-11-102(o)

Restrictions

Montana law prohibits smoking: in enclosed public places, including restaurants, stores, public and private office buildings and offices, including all office buildings and offices of political subdivisions and state government, trains, buses, and other forms of public transportation, health care facilities, auditoriums, arenas, assembly facilities, meeting rooms open to the public, bars, community college facilities, facilities of the Montana university system, and public school; and in all parts of buildings maintained by a political subdivision.

Mont. Code Ann. § 50-40-104: Smoking in enclosed public places prohibited; notice to the public; places where prohibition is inapplicable

Mont. Code Ann. § 50-40-201: Local government buildings; smoking prohibited

Mont. Code Ann. § 50-40-103: Definitions


The proprietor or manager of an establishment containing enclosed public places must post a sign in a conspicuous place at all public entrances to the establishment stating, in a manner that can be easily read and understood, that smoking in the enclosed public place is prohibited.

Mont. Code Ann. § 50-40-104: Smoking in enclosed public places prohibited; notice to the public; places where prohibition is inapplicable


Montana HB 413 (2019) dictates that an individual may not use a tobacco product, vapor product, or alternative nicotine product in a public-school building or on public school property.  This measure does not apply to the use of a tobacco product, vapor product, or alternative nicotine product in a classroom or on other school property as part of a lecture, demonstration, or educational forum sanctioned by a school administrator or faculty member concerning the risks associated with use of a tobacco product, vapor product, or alternative nicotine product.

Montana 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, unless used as a family day-care home or group day-care home, an adult foster care home, or a health care facility
  • Private motor vehicles
  • School property as part of a lecture, demonstration, or educational forum sanctioned by a school administrator or faculty member concerning the risks associated with the use of a tobacco product
  • Designated hotel or motel rooms
  • Sites being used in connection with the practice of cultural activities by American Indians in accordance with the American Indian Religious Freedom Act

Mont. Code Ann. § 50-40-104(4): Smoking in enclosed public places prohibited; notice to the public; places where prohibition is inapplicable

Montana law does not contain exemptions from the smoking ban for bars, restaurants, or retail tobacco stores.

Individuals under 18 years of age cannot knowingly possess or consume a tobacco product or knowingly attempt to purchase a tobacco product. Similarly, it is illegal for a person to sell or distribute a tobacco product to an individual under 18 years of age, whether over the counter, by a vending machine, or otherwise. If there is a reasonable doubt as to the individual’s age, the seller must require presentation of a driver’s license or other generally accepted identification that includes a picture of the individual.

Mont. Code Ann. § 45-5-637: Tobacco possession or consumption by persons under 18 years of age prohibited; unlawful attempt to purchase; penalties

Mont. Code Ann. § 16 -11-305: Sale or distribution of tobacco products to persons under 18 years of age prohibited

Mont. Code Ann. § 16 -11-305: Sale or distribution of tobacco products, alternative nicotine products, or vapor products to persons under 18 years of age prohibited


Department of Labor and Industry staff reported that Montana law does not contain restrictions concerning minor employees of tobacco retail stores and that the minimum age to work in Montana is 14.

A retail seller of tobacco products shall conspicuously display, at each place on the premises at which tobacco products are displayed and sold, a sign that is to be provided without charge by the department of revenue that states: “Montana law prohibits the sale of tobacco products to persons under 18 years of age.

Mont. Code Ann. § 16-11-304: Signs


A retail seller of tobacco products, alternative nicotine products, or vapor products shall conspicuously display, at each place on the premises at which tobacco products, alternative nicotine products, or vapor products are displayed and sold, a sign that is to be provided without charge by the department of revenue that states: “Montana law prohibits the sale of tobacco products, alternative nicotine products, or vapor products to persons under 18 years of age.

Mont. Code Ann. § 16-11-304: Signs


A local government may by ordinance, adopt youth access regulations that are no more stringent than state law.

Mont. Code Ann. § 16-11-311: Local regulations

In Montana, it is illegal for a person to sell or distribute a tobacco product to an individual under 18 years of age, whether over the counter, by a vending machine, or otherwise. 

Mont. Code Ann. § 16-11-305:Sale or distribution of tobacco products to persons under 18 years of age prohibited

Mont. Code Ann. § 16 -11-305: Sale or distribution of tobacco products, alternative nicotine products, or vapor products to persons under 18 years of age prohibited


A person may not distribute a tobacco product for commercial purposes other than a sealed package that is provided by the manufacturer and that contains the health warning required by federal law.

Mont. Code Ann. § 16-11-307: Distribution of tobacco products in other than sealed packages prohibited; minimum package size


Distribution of tobacco samples is subject to tax and licensing requirements, as the term “sale” means any transfer of tobacco products for consideration, exchange, barter, gift, offer for sale, or distribution in any manner or by any means. The term “distribute” means to give, deliver, sample, or sell; to offer to give, deliver, sample, or sell; or to cause or hire another person to give, deliver, sample, or sell or offer to give, deliver, sample, or sell.

Mont. Code Ann. § 16-11-102(o)

Mont. Code Ann. § 16-11-302(1)


A local government may by ordinance adopt sampling regulations that are no more stringent than state law.

Mont. Code Ann. § 16-11-311: Local regulations

Operating Your Business

Every wholesaler, tobacco product vendor, subjobber, and retailer must obtain a license from the Department of Revenue before engaging in the business of tobacco product distribution. The license fees are as follows:

licensefee
Wholesaler’s License $50
Tobacco Product Vendor’s License $50
Subjobber’s License$50
Retailer’s License$5

Tobacco product licenses are valid for one year and must be renewed annually. Businesses will receive a notification when it is time to renew licenses. License registration and renewal forms may be submitted through the eStop Business Licenses Online Service website. 

Mont. Code Ann. § 16-11-120: Tobacco product licenses

Mont. Code Ann. § 16-11-303: License for the retail sale of tobacco products

Mont. Code Ann. § 16-11-303: License for the retail sale of tobacco products – alternative nicotine products – vapor products

Mont. Code Ann. § 16-11-122: License fees; renewal


Every wholesaler, tobacco products vendor, subjobber, and retailer who acquires non-tax paid tobacco products must submit an Other Tobacco Products and Moist Snuff Tax Return (Form TP-101) on or before the 10th day of each month.

Mont. Code Ann. § 16-11-128: Tobacco product sales reporting requirements.


Tax returns may be filed through the Montana Department of Revenue Taxpayer Access Point (TAP).

Montana law does not contain exemptions from the smoking ban for bars or restaurants.

Localities may require additional business licenses.

Form Type / NameForm Number / Link
Montana Department of Revenue: Business FormsBusiness Forms
Cigarette TaxesCigarettesTaxes
Other Tobacco Products TaxesOTP Taxes
Montana Department of Revenue Taxpayer Access Point (TAP)TAP

Political Involvement

 “Lobbying” means:

  • the practice of promoting or opposing the introduction or enactment of legislation before the legislature or legislators and
  • the practice of promoting or opposing official action of any public official or the legislature

Lobbying” does not include actions performed by a public official, an elected local official, an elected federal official, or an elected tribal official while acting in an official governmental capacity.

Mont. Code Ann. § 5-7-102(11)

Lobbyist” means a person who engages in the practice of lobbying. “Lobbyist” does not include:

  • an individual acting solely on the individual’s own behalf,
  • an individual working for the same principle as a licensed lobbyist if the individual does not have personal contact involving lobbying with a public official or the legislature on behalf of the lobbyist’s principal, or
  • an individual who receives payments from one or more persons that total less than $2,500 in a calendar year

Mont. Code Ann. § 5-7-102(12)

Principal” means a person who employs a lobbyist, or a person required to report.

Mont. Code Ann. § 5-7-102(15)

Anyone meeting the definition of a lobbyist must register by filing a Lobbyist License Application (Form L-1), along with a $150 license fee. The lobbyist’s employer must file a Principal Authorization Statement (Form L-2). Those who spend more than $2,550 (calendar years 2017 and 2018) in a calendar year for lobbying, but who do not hire anyone lobbyist who makes more than $2,550(calendar years 2017 and 2018) must file a Principal Registration Application (Form L-3). Each license expires on December 31st of each even-numbered year.

Mont. Code Ann. § 5-7-103: Licenses; fees; eligibility; waiver


Any principal who makes a payment or agrees to make payments exceeding $2,550 (calendar years 2017 and 2018) in a calendar year for the purpose of lobbying must file an initial Lobbying Financial Report (Form L-5). The principal must also file End of Session Report 30 days after the legislature adjourns and a Session Year-End Report covering the post-session to year-end time frame by February 15. Any principal who makes payment or agrees to make payments exceeding $5,000 in a calendar year for the purpose of lobbying must file monthly reports by the 15th of each month the legislature is in session.

Mont. Code Ann. § 5-7-208: Principals to file a report

Registration and reporting forms may be submitted through the Commissioner of Political Practices Lobby Registration and Reporting website

Form Type / NameForm Number / Link
Montana Commissioner of Political Practices: LobbyingMontana Commissioner of Political Practices: Lobbying
Montana Commissioner of Political Practices: Lobbying LawsLobbying Laws
Montana Commissioner of Political Practices: Lobbying RulesLobbying Rules
Montana Commissioner of Political Practices: Forms and FAQsForms/FAQs
Lobbyist License ApplicationForm L-1
Principal Authorization StatementForm L-2
Principal Registration ApplicationForm L-3
Lobbying Financial ReportForm L-5
Reporting CalendarsReporting Calendars
Commissioner of Political Practices Lobby Registration and Reporting WebsiteRegistration and Reporting Website

Shipping Regulations

Montana has specific requirements for the shipping of tobacco products to consumers. Prior to delivering, mailing, or shipping tobacco products into Montana to a person other than a licensed wholesaler or retailer, a person who accepts purchase orders for tobacco product sales shall file a statement with the Department of Revenue. 

The statement must set forth: 

  • the name, trade name, and address of the principal place of business of the seller, any other place of business of the seller, and the seller’s domicile state; and
  • all owners or controlling persons and every partner, officer, director, or person occupying a similar status or performing similar functions and their home addresses.

By the 10th day of each calendar month, each person that has made a sale or delivered, mailed, or shipped tobacco products into the state or contracted with another party for delivery service in connection with a sale of tobacco products into the state made during the previous calendar month shall file a memorandum of sale or a copy of the sales invoice with the Department of Revenue. 

The memorandum or sales invoice must provide the following for each delivery sale made during the previous calendar month: 

  • Name and address of the consumer to whom the sale was made
  • Brand(s) of the tobacco products that were sold
  • Number of tobacco products that were sold

Mont. Code Ann. § 16-11-104: Carriers to report shipments – penalties 

Mont. Code Ann. § 16-11-128: Tobacco product sales reporting requirements

Mont. Code Ann. § 16- 11-132: Unlawful to sell tobacco products without a valid license – exceptions


A person may not sell, offer to sell, or possess with intent to sell any tobacco products, at wholesale or retail, unless the person’s license is current and valid. Every wholesaler, tobacco product vendor, subjobber, and retailer must obtain a license from the Department of Revenue before engaging in the business of tobacco product distribution. 

Mont. Code Ann. § 16-11-120: Tobacco product licenses

Mont. Code Ann. § 16-11-303: License for the retail sale of tobacco products

Mont. Code Ann. § 16-11-303: License for the retail sale of tobacco products – alternative nicotine products – vapor products


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

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

Montana imposes a tax on wholesalers of all tobacco products other than cigarettes. The tax is pre-collected and paid by a wholesaler to the Department of Revenue upon sale to a Montana retailer. Retailers who purchase tobacco products for resale on which the tobacco products tax has not been collected and paid are liable for payment of the tax. Department of Revenue staff reported that the tobacco products tax must be paid prior to the shipping of tobacco products to consumers.

The Department of Revenue adopted rules that classify certain little cigars as cigarettes for tax purposes. 

Mont. Code Ann. § 16-11-111(7-9): Cigarette, tobacco products, and moist snuff sales tax; exemption for sale to tribal member

Mont. Admin Code r. 42.31.206, 42.31.207, 42.31.208


Department of Revenue staff reported that Montana localities do not levy additional taxes on tobacco products.


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.