Georgia Legislature Adjourns With No Cigar Taxes Change

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During the latest legislative session, the Georgia Legislature had proposed two bills about the possible change of the tobacco tax rate in the state. One of the bills suggests that tobacco tax rates should be increased, while another bill aims to lower them. But none of them are approved.

One of the bills is H.B. 1229, which was sponsored by five legislators, a bipartisan mix of four Democrats and one Republican. This bill attempts to raise the tax rate on cigars' wholesale price, from 29% to 39%. For example, the manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP) of a cigar is about $9.50, so the general price at the register will increase from $11.67 to $13.21. Although this bill also read in the House of Representatives, it failed to make a committee hearing.

H.B. 882 is the second bill that sought to reduce the cigar's tax rate by more than half. This decrease means the wholesale price of cigars will decrease from 29% to just 12%. In this case, cigars with an MSRP of $9.50 will be dropped from $11.67 to $10.64, if the bill is finally approved. However, this bill cleared the House by a 159-0 vote with 21 members stay neutral, it didn't make it to a final reading in the Senate.

(Georgia state flag |

Both of these bills contained other changes to tobacco taxes. But one of the main problems was implementing an excise tax on e-cigarettes and vapor products, which are currently untaxed.

The bill SB 375, focus on the tax of e-cigarettes was approved. This bill also raises the minimum age to purchase tobacco products, e-cigarettes, and vaping products from 18 to 21 years old.

There is no information about the taxes on cigars, cigarettes, nor other tobacco products in the bill SB 375. Hence, the state's taxes on cigars and cigarettes still remain the same. And SB 375 still require the signature of Gov. Brian Kemp. Once after the bill was signed into law, the rise of minimum age will be executed immediately, while other changes to alternative tobacco products would go into effect on Jan. 1, 2021.

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