Code of the District of Columbia

§ 47–2402. Imposition; payment of cigarette tax.

(a)(1) Except as otherwise provided in § 47-2403, a tax is levied and imposed on the sale or possession on all cigarettes in the District of Columbia at the rate of $0.225 for each cigarette.

(2) Subject to paragraph (3) of this subsection and in lieu of the tax otherwise imposed by § 47-2002, a surtax is levied and imposed on the sale or possession of all cigarettes in the District at the rate of $0.36 per package of 20 or fewer cigarettes. If there are more than 20 cigarettes in the package, the surtax per pack will be incrementally increased by $.018 per each cigarette above 20.

(3)(A) Beginning as of March 31, 2012, and on March 31st of each year thereafter, the Mayor shall calculate the average retail price of a package of cigarettes from the best information available and shall recompute the surtax on the basis of the then applicable sales and use tax rate that otherwise would be applicable to the sale of cigarettes under § 47-2002.

(B) In calculating the average retail price for purposes of this paragraph, the Mayor shall exclude the current surtax imposed by this section and the portion of the presumptive wholesale and retail markup imposed by Chapter 45A of Title 28 of the District of Columbia Official Code on the current surtax. The Mayor shall provide notice of any change in the amount of the surtax on or before September 1st of that year, and the change shall be effective as of the following October 1st.

(b) Cigarettes on which the taxes levied and imposed by this section have been paid shall not be subject to additional taxation under this section; provided, that the burden of proof that the taxes levied and imposed by this section have been paid shall be upon the person who sells or possesses cigarettes in the District, against whom a tax assessment has been made, who has submitted an application for a refund, or whose cigarettes have been seized. For the purposes of this section, the term “person” includes any officer or employee of a corporation responsible for payment of the tax, or any member of a partnership or association responsible for the payment of the tax.

(c) The tax levied and imposed by this section shall be paid by the affixture of stamps, purchased from the Mayor, evidencing the payment of the amount of tax imposed by this section. Such stamps shall be affixed to the original packages of cigarettes included in the directory of Tobacco Product Manufacturers maintained pursuant to § 7-1803.03(b) and shall be cancelled in the manner prescribed by the Mayor.

(d) Except as otherwise provided in this subsection and subsection (f) of this section, each licensed wholesaler shall affix a stamp or stamps, evidencing the payment of the amount of tax imposed by this section, to each original package of cigarettes to be kept for sale, offered for sale, displayed for sale, or sold within the District. Such stamps shall be affixed to each original package of such cigarettes within 72 hours after the receipt of such cigarettes and prior to the sale of such cigarettes unless such cigarettes are exempt from taxation under the provisions of this chapter. Whenever any cigarettes are found in the place of business of a licensed wholesaler without the stamps affixed as herein provided, or not segregated or marked as having been received within the preceding 72 hours, or not segregated or marked as being held for sale outside of the limits of the District, or not segregated or marked as being held for sale to the United States or the District government, or any instrumentalities thereof, or not segregated or marked for other exempt purposes under this chapter, a prima facie presumption shall arise that such cigarettes are subject to the tax levied and imposed by this section and are possessed in violation of the provisions of this chapter.

(e) Licensed retailers and vending machine operators shall not accept deliveries of unstamped or improperly stamped cigarettes. Such licensees shall examine all packages of cigarettes immediately upon their receipt and shall immediately return any and all unstamped or improperly stamped cigarettes to the licensed wholesaler. Unless substantial evidence to the contrary is shown, the possession of any unstamped or improperly stamped cigarettes by such licensees shall be prima facie evidence that such cigarettes are possessed in violation of the provisions of this chapter. The Mayor may, however, authorize licensed retailers and vending machine operators to acquire and have in their possession cigarettes bearing cigarette tax stamps issued by any other state or jurisdiction; provided, that such cigarettes are intended for sale in such other state or jurisdiction. Licensed retailers and vending machine operators shall not purchase, acquire, or have in their possession District tax stamps. Notwithstanding the provisions of this subsection, licensed retailers or vending machine operators, other than licensed retailers or vending machine operators who are also licensed wholesalers, who either have in their possession unused cigarette tax stamps or unstamped cigarettes on the effective date of this chapter shall not be deemed in violation of this subsection; provided, that such licensed retailers and vending machine operators affix or redeem such unused cigarette tax stamps and pay the tax levied and imposed by this section on such unstamped cigarettes in the manner and within the time specified by the Mayor.

(f) On sales of cigarettes to other licensed wholesalers, a licensed wholesaler may deliver such cigarettes without affixing stamps thereon, and such other licensed wholesalers shall be liable for the tax imposed by this section on such cigarettes.

(g) All packages of cigarettes placed in cigarette vending machines shall be placed in such manner that the District cigarette tax stamps are visible whenever the packages are within that area of the vending machine which permits visibility of the packages.

(h) Except as authorized by this section or § 47-2403, no person shall willfully or knowingly sell, transfer, buy, receive, have in his possession, or offer to sell, transfer, buy, or receive any unstamped or improperly stamped cigarettes.

(i) No person shall sell, transfer, or offer to sell or transfer any cigarette tax stamps to any person other than the Mayor; nor shall any person buy, receive or offer to buy or receive any cigarette tax stamps from any person other than the Mayor.

(j) The Mayor may by regulation provide for the purchase of stamps at a discount not exceeding 10% of the face value of such stamps.

(k) The taxes imposed under this section shall be deemed to be a part of the selling price of cigarettes and shall be in addition to, and not in lieu of, any taxes imposed by any other law.

(l)(1) There is established as a special fund the Smoking Cessation Fund (“Fund”), which shall be administered by the Department of Health in accordance with paragraph (3) of this subsection.

(2) There shall be deposited into the Fund:

(A) Such funds as may be appropriated from time to time; and

(B) Interest earned on money deposited into the Fund.

(3) The Fund shall be used for smoking-cessation efforts.

(4) Repealed.

(5)(A) The money deposited into the Fund, and interest earned, shall not revert to the unrestricted fund balance of the General Fund of the District of Columbia at the end of a fiscal year, or at any other time.

(B) Subject to authorization by Congress, any funds appropriated in the Fund shall be continually available without regard to fiscal year limitation.


(May 27, 1949, 63 Stat. 137, ch. 146, title VI, § 603; May 18, 1954, 68 Stat. 115, ch. 218, title IX, § 901; Sept. 30, 1966, 80 Stat. 856, Pub. L. 89-610, title IV, § 401; Oct. 31, 1969, 83 Stat. 173, Pub. L. 91-106, title III, § 301; Oct. 21, 1972, 86 Stat. 1015, Pub. L. 92-518, title III, § 302(a); Oct. 21, 1975, D.C. Law 1-23, title IV, § 401(a), 22 DCR 2103; June 15, 1976, D.C. Law 1-70, title V, § 501, 23 DCR 546; Mar. 10, 1982, D.C. Law 4-71, § 2, 28 DCR 5243; Sept. 10, 1985, D.C. Law 6-33, § 2(a), 32 DCR 3774; Feb. 28, 1987, D.C. Law 6-198, § 2(a), 34 DCR 515; Aug. 17, 1991, D.C. Law 9-31, § 2(a), 38 DCR 4218; Sept. 10, 1992, D.C. Law 9-145, § 109(a), 39 DCR 4895; Sept. 30, 1993, D.C. Law 10-25, § 113(a), 40 DCR 5489; enacted, Apr. 9, 1997, D.C. Law 11-254, § 2, 44 DCR 1575; June 5, 2003, D.C. Law 14-307, § 902(c), 49 DCR 11664; Aug. 16, 2008, D.C. Law 17-219, §§ 5055(a), 7010, 55 DCR 7598; Mar. 3, 2010, D.C. Law 18-111, § 7241(i)(3), 57 DCR 181; Sept. 14, 2011, D.C. Law 19-21, § 8052(b), 58 DCR 6226; Dec. 24, 2013, D.C. Law 20-61, § 7332, 60 DCR 12472; Feb. 26, 2015, D.C. Law 20-155, §§ 7012(e)(3), 7043(b), 61 DCR 9990; Oct. 30, 2018, D.C. Law 22-168, § 7292, 65 DCR 9388.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 47-2402.

1973 Ed., § 47-2802.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 28-4521, § 47-2403, § 47-2405, and § 47-2409.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 14-307, in subsec. (a), substituted “$.05” for “3.25 cents”.

D.C. Law 17-219, in subsec. (a), substituted “$.10 for each cigarette” for “$.05 for each cigarette”; and, in subsec. (c), rewrote the second sentence, which had read as follows: “Such stamps shall be affixed to the original packages of cigarettes and shall be cancelled, in the manner prescribed by the Mayor.”

D.C. Law 18-111, in subsec. (a), substituted “$.125” for “$.10”.

D.C. Law 19-21 rewrote subsec. (a), which had read as follows: “(a) Except as otherwise provided in § 47-2403, a tax is levied and imposed on the sale or possession of all cigarettes in the District of Columbia at the rate of $.125 for each cigarette.”

The 2013 amendment by D.C. Law 20-61 added (l).

The 2015 amendment by D.C. Law 20-155 added “of cigarette tax” in the section heading.

Cross References

Tax rates, records and surplus funds, authority of Council to change certain tax rates, see § 47-504.

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 7292 of Fiscal Year 2019 Budget Support Congressional Review Emergency Act of 2018 (D.C. Act 22-458, Oct. 3, 2018, 65 DCR 11212).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 7292 of Fiscal Year 2019 Budget Support Emergency Act of 2018 (D.C. Act 22-434, July 30, 2018, 65 DCR 8200).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 902(c) and 903 of Fiscal Year 2003 Budget Support Amendment Emergency Act of 2002 (D.C. Act 14-544, December 4, 2002, 49 DCR 11700).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see §§ 902(c) and 903 of the Fiscal Year 2003 Budget Support Amendment Congressional Review Emergency Act of 2003 (D.C. Act 15-27, February 24, 2003, 50 DCR 2151).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see §§ 902(c) and 903 of Fiscal Year 2003 Budget Support Amendment Second Congressional Review Emergency Act of 2003 (D.C. Act 15-103, June 20, 2003, 50 DCR 5499).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 2 of the Cigarette Stamp Clarification Emergency Amendment Act of 2007 (D.C. Act 17-47, May 15, 2007, 54 DCR 5356).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 2 of Cigarette Stamp Clarification Emergency Amendment Act of 2008 (D.C. Act 17-366, May 5, 2008, 55 DCR 5689).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 7111(h) of Fiscal Year 2010 Budget Support Emergency Act of 2009 (D.C. Act 18-187, August 26, 2009, 56 DCR 7374).

For temporary (90 day) additions, see § 7121(b) of Fiscal Year 2010 Budget Support Emergency Act of 2009 (D.C. Act 18-187, August 26, 2009, 56 DCR 7374).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 7241(i)(3) of Fiscal Year 2010 Budget Support Second Emergency Act of 2009 (D.C. Act 18-207, October 15, 2009, 56 DCR 8234).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 2(a), (b)(3) of Tobacco Excise Tax Emergency Amendment Act of 2009 (D.C. Act 18-214, October 21, 2009, 56 DCR 8496).

For temporary (90 day) addition, see § 2(b)(4) of Tobacco Excise Tax Emergency Amendment Act of 2009 (D.C. Act 18-214, October 21, 2009, 56 DCR 8496).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 7241(i)(3) of Fiscal Year Budget Support Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2009 (D.C. Act 18-260, January 4, 2010, 57 DCR 345).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 7332 of the Fiscal Year 2014 Budget Support Emergency Act of 2013 (D.C. Act 20-130, July 30, 2013, 60 DCR 11384, 20 DCSTAT 1827).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 7332 of the Fiscal Year 2014 Budget Support Congressional Review Emergency Act of 2013 (D.C. Act 20-204, October 17, 2013, 60 DCR 15341, 20 DCSTAT 2311).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see §§ 7022(e)(3) and 7053(b) of the Fiscal Year 2015 Budget Support Emergency Act of 2014 (D.C. Act 20-377, July 14, 2014, 61 DCR 7598, 20 STAT 3696).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see §§ 7012(e)(3) and 7043(b) of the Fiscal Year 2015 Budget Support Congressional Review Emergency Act of 2014 (D.C. Act 20-449, October 10, 2014, 61 DCR 10915, 20 STAT 4188).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see §§ 7012(e)(3) and 7043(b) of the Fiscal Year 2015 Budget Support Second Congressional Review Emergency Act of 2014 (D.C. Act 20-566, January 9, 2015, 62 DCR 884, 21 STAT 541).

Temporary Legislation

Section 2 of D.C. Law 17-18 amended the second sentence of subsec. (c) to read as follows: “Such stamps shall be affixed to the original packages of cigarettes included in the directory of Tobacco Product Manufacturers maintained pursuant to § 7-1803.03(b) and shall be cancelled in the manner prescribed by the Mayor.”

Section 4(b) of D.C. Law 17-18 provided that the act shall expire after 225 days of its having taken effect.

Section 2 of D.C. Law 17-192, in subsec. (c), amended the second sentence to read as follows: “Such stamps shall be affixed to the original packages of cigarettes included in the directory of Tobacco Product Manufacturers maintained pursuant to § 7-1803.03(b) and shall be cancelled in the manner prescribed by the Mayor.”.

Section 4(b) of D.C. Law 17-192 provided that the act shall expire after 225 days of its having taken effect.

Short Title

Short title: Section 7009 of D.C. Law 17-219 provided that subtitle E of title VII of the act may be cited as the “Cigarette Stamp Clarification Act of 2008”.

Section 7331 of D.C. Law 20-61 provided that Subtitle GG of Title VII of the act may be cited as the “Smoking Cessation Dedicated Funding Act of 2013”.

Effective Dates

Section 3(b) of D.C. Law 6-33 provided that the provisions of the act shall not operate before the 1st day of the 1st month which begins more than 30 days after September 10, 1985.

Editor's Notes

Mayor to report fiscal impact of Law 10-25: Section 113(c) of D.C. Law 10-25 provided that the Mayor shall report to the Council within 6 months of implementation on the fiscal impact of this section.

Section 903 of D.C. Law 14-307 provided: “Sec. 903. Applicability. Section 902 shall apply as of January 1, 2003.”

Section 5005(a)(2) of D.C. Law 17-219 provided that this subsection shall apply as of October 1, 2008.

Applicability of D.C. Law 20-61: Section 11001 of D.C. Law 20-61 provided that, except as otherwise provided, the act shall apply as of October 1, 2013.