Retail dealer means and includes every person who, in the usual course of business, purchases or receives cigarettes from any source whatsoever, for the purpose of sale or distribution within the jurisdictions covered by the Board, to the ultimate consumer.

  • Only properly registered and licensed retail stores may sell cigarettes to the public. To be properly registered and licensed, a retail store must:
    • Check with the Tax office of the jurisdiction where the business is located to ensure compliance with their business license/registration requirements. Click here for the list of NVCTB member jurisdictions and their respective cigarette tax rates and license/registration requirements.  
    • Be registered in Virginia. Register a Business in Virginia | Virginia Tax. By registering online, the retailer will immediately receive a Virginia Tax account number for each tax type, the required sales tax certificate of registration, and documents to help with next steps (what returns are needed to file, when to file, etc.). The retailer will also be automatically enrolled in a business online services account allowing the retailer to file and pay state taxes, send them emails, and manage the retailer’s Virginia Tax account in the future. 
    • Retailers must use the Cigarette Resale Certificate of Exemption (ST-10C) issued by the Virginia Department of Taxation to buy cigarettes tax exempt for resale in Virginia.  Click here for more information on how to apply for the exemption certificate.
  • Retail businesses selling cigarettes can only purchase them from registered agents. Click here to see a list of NVCTB authorized registered agents.
  • Retail businesses must provide to the registered agent the business trade name and business address of the location where the cigarettes will be placed for sale to the public.
  • In Virginia, registered agents/wholesalers pay the cigarette tax, and affix a cigarette tax stamp to each pack of cigarettes before shipping cigarettes to retailers. It is the responsibility of each retail location to inspect each cigarette shipment to make sure that all cigarettes are properly taxed and stamped. See below for sample of the NVCTB stamp. If retailer finds any packs without the NVCTB stamp, remove them from inventory, mark them as “not for sale”, and return them to the registered agent (wholesaler) immediately.
  • Cigarettes found without the NVCTB stamp or the proper jurisdictional tax paid will be seized by NVCTB field staff.
  • Cigarettes purchased for personal use cannot be brought into a business for resale.
  • Cigarettes must be purchased and stored separately for each business location. Transferring cigarettes from one business location to another is illegal and are subject to confiscation.
  • All copies of cigarette purchase invoices/receipts must be retained by the retailer for a period of three years and shall be made available to Agents of the NVCTB upon request for use in conducting audits and investigations.
  • All copies of cigarette purchase invoices/receipts must be stored at the business retail location for a period of one year from date of purchase.
  • Failure to provide cigarette invoices/receipts may result in confiscation of cigarettes until receipts can be reviewed by the Board to verify the proper tax has been paid.
  • Retail dealers must make their place of business available for inspection by Tobacco Revenue Agents to make sure that all cigarettes are properly tax-stamped and all cigarette taxes are properly paid.
  • Any person violating any of the provisions of local ordinances shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by a fine of not more than $2,500 or imprisonment for not more than twelve months or by both such fine and imprisonment. Such fine and/or imprisonment shall not relieve any such person from the payment of any tax, penalty or interest imposed by the ordinances.

Please contact the Northern Virginia Cigarette Tax Board (NVCTB) by phone at 703-802-0373 or email at [email protected], should you have any questions.

Appealing Cigarette Seizure/Confiscation

If cigarettes have been seized/confiscated during a physical inspection by a NVCTB Agent, the retailer may file a written request for a hearing before the Administrator for an informal presentation of evidence showing that the cigarettes were erroneously seized and request these be returned to the retailer.

Click here for more information about the appeal process.