The Comptroller’s office enforces state laws that tax and regulate tobacco. The State of Texas prohibits certain conduct by both permitted participants and illegal operators. (Pertinent sections of the Tax Code are shown below in parentheses.)
Crimes and Punishment
Though some offenses are misdemeanors, others are felonies punishable by imprisonment and/or substantial fines:
Counterfeiting Tax Stamps (Sec. 154.520)
Circumventing the purchase of tax stamps affixed to cigarette packs, the state's main source of cigarette tax revenue.
Refusing to Permit Inspection by the Comptroller (Secs. 154.512 and 155.210)
Interfering with the Comptroller's legal authority to inspect certain business premises and records for tax law compliance.
Offenses Related to Books and Records (Secs. 154.516 and 155.212)
Knowingly making false returns, destroying records or failing to keep records for the period of time required by law.
Possession When Tax Due Exceeds $50 (Sec. 155.211)
Possessing taxable tobacco products on which taxes of more than $50 are unpaid.
Possession of More Than 10,000 Unstamped Cigarettes (Sec. 154.515)
Possessing cigarette packages without state tax stamps affixed
Transporting Unstamped Cigarettes (Sec. 154.511)
Knowingly transporting cigarettes without stamps affixed to each individual package
In addition to prison time and fines, defendants convicted of tobacco tax crimes may incur additional penalties:
In 2015, the Texas Legislature passed House Bill 855, which requires state agencies to publish a list of the three most commonly used Web browsers on their websites. The Texas Comptroller’s most commonly used Web browsers are Google Chrome, Microsoft Internet Explorer and Apple Safari.