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Conn. Prepares to Crack Down on Tax-Free Cigarettes

HARTFORD, Conn. -- Connecticut's tax commissioner says the state will crack down on tax-free cigarettes sales on the Internet and through the mail, hoping to recover millions of dollars in lost revenue.

With the state's cigarette tax more than doubling next month, going from 50 cents to $1.11 a pack on April 3, the state is working with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms to begin enforcing a federal law that requires mail and Internet companies to provide monthly lists of their customers. State tax officials will use those lists to locate scofflaws, according to the Hartford Courant.

So far this fiscal year, only seven out of 80 identified out-of-state vendors, including one reservation-based outfit, have filed the lists. The buyers have ended up paying more than $55,000 in taxes and fines, a paltry figure compared to an estimated $6.3 million in cigarette taxes the state will lose this fiscal year, the report said.

With the cigarette tax rising to $1.11 per pack, the lost revenue projection is $11.8 million for the fiscal year starting July 1.
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