You must purchase your tobacco products for sale to Wisconsin consumers from permitted wholesalers (distributors or subjobbers) who sell tobacco products on which the Wisconsin tobacco products excise taxes have been paid and sold to you with the Wisconsin excise tax included (in the purchase/sales price), unless you hold a valid tobacco products distributor permit with DOR to pay the excise taxes on all untaxed tobacco products purchased from sources outside Wisconsin. All purchases of tobacco products from distributors or subjobbers permitted with DOR whose business is located within Wisconsin are required to be sold to you with the Wisconsin excise tax included. Distributors are liable for the Wisconsin excise taxes on all out-of-state purchases, including tax-included tobacco products purchased from distributors outside Wisconsin who do not pay the excise taxes to the state. Provide a copy of your valid DOR distributor permit to all out-of-state sources and confirm the excise tax status on those purchases prior to purchase. Invoices marked "State and/or local excise taxes are the responsibility of the purchaser/receiver" are untaxed.
- If you are responsible for paying the tobacco products tax, you must have security (e.g., cash, surety bond) on file with DOR
- The amount of security cannot exceed three times a permittee's average monthly liability for tobacco products tax [sec. 139.84, Wis. Stats.]
You must hold a valid retail license to sell tobacco products to consumers in Wisconsin. Licenses are issued by the municipality (city, village or town) for each location where tobacco products are received and stored for sale to consumers. You must contact the clerk for the city, village or town where you want to do business and apply for the tobacco products retail license with the clerk. All tobacco products must be sold as allowed under the license, over-the-counter or in a vending machine. Vending machine sales are allowed in "adult-only" facilities (defined as premises where no one under the age of eighteen is allowed to enter.). No person inside or outside Wisconsin may ship/deliver tobacco products direct to consumers via the mail or other delivery services.
Note: Retailers must obtain a Tobacco Products Distributor permit prior to purchasing untaxed tobacco products from an out-of-state company. (See Application for Cigarette and Tobacco Products Permits/Registration form,
You may not sell/transfer tobacco products to another retailer, wholesaler or location, even if owned by the same person, unless you hold a valid tobacco products wholesale (distributor or subjobber) permit with the department. All sales/transfers of tobacco products require a wholesale invoice showing the seller's legal name, "doing business as name", and business address as permitted, as well as the purchaser's legal name, "doing business as name", and business address as permitted or licensed.
Note: If a retailer holds a tobacco products distributor permit at the same business address as the retail license, all tobacco products purchased (taxed and untaxed) are purchased at wholesale under the distributor permit. As a result, all transfers/disbursements of tobacco products from wholesale require an invoice from the wholesaler to the retailer, even if to the same permitted/licensed address.
You may not sell, or offer or possess for sale cigarettes or roll-your-own (RYO) cigarette tobacco not included on the Attorney General's
Directory of Certified Tobacco Manufacturers and Brands. Only those manufacturer's brands listed on the directory may be advertised, solicited, marketed or sold as cigarettes or RYO. Pursuant to the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) statute, tobacco may not be advertised, solicited, marketed or sold as RYO and little cigars may not be advertised, solicited, marketed or sold as cigarettes or cigarette alternatives,
sec. 995.12(2)(c), Wis. Stats. Any retailer who violates the requirements for the legal sale of cigarettes (or little cigars) or RYO in this state is subject to confiscation of those products and/or criminal charges, and suspension or revocation of their distributor permit.
As a licensed retailer, you are required to purchase your tobacco products for sale to Wisconsin consumers from permitted wholesalers (distributors or jobbers) who sell tobacco products on which the Wisconsin excise taxes have been paid. If the wholesaler is not reimbursed by the retailer for the sale of the tax-included tobacco products, the department may bill the retailer for the portion of tax unpaid to the wholesaler on which they claimed credit from the state. Tobacco products possessed and/or offered for sale to consumers in this state on which the tobacco products tax has not been paid are unlawful property and subject to seizure.