Revenue Officials Say Cigarette Smuggling is Growing
ST. PAUL (AP) - Minnesota revenue officials say they need an additional $1 million annually to crack down on cigarette smugglers and retailers selling untaxed tobacco.
Authorities say cigarette smuggling has become a growing problem less than two years after Minnesota raised its cigarette tax to one of the highest in the country.
Revenue officials seized or assessed untaxed tobacco products in more than 40 percent of the 374 retail inspections conducted through the first three quarters of 2014. Before the cigarette tax jumped $1.60 per pack, inspectors found untaxed tobacco products 8 percent of the time.
Officials estimate cigarette smuggling will cost the state $2.6 million in lost tax revenue over the next two years. The additional funding would be used to hire another 11 inspectors.