W.Va. Store Considered Cigarettes Manufacturer

A Northern Panhandle discount cigarettes shop where customers can buy loose buy cigarette online and papers to make their own cheap cigarette online in the store is in violation of state and federal law, a Kanawha County judge ruled Thursday.

Compton Point of Moundsville filed a tax complaint in January against the state tax commissioner and fire marshal, claiming the store didn't have to pay excise taxes on customer-generated cigarette sales. Customers who buy loose cigarettes for sale and cigarette tubes there have the option of producing their own cheap cigarettes for an additional fee using a store-provided machine.

Buying the cigarettes and papers separately and having them rolled by machine is seen as attractive by cost-conscious smokers as state and federal taxes on cigarettes online from large manufacturers have risen in recent years, partnered by price increases by buy cigarettes companies.

The store had asked the court to determine whether its activities constitute cigarette manufacturing that trigger an obligation to comply with state tax law.

Kanawha Circuit Judge Tod Kaufman ruled that because customers can leave with finished cigarettes made in the store, the store is considered a cigarettes manufacturer and wholesaler. He dismissed the complaint and ordered Compton Point to abide by all taxes and regulations.

It is apparent from the facts of this case that Compton Point's business scheme results in its categorization as a cigarettes product manufacturer of cigarettes,'' Kaufman wrote, adding that cigarettes manufactured there aren't in proper packages that abide with state and federal law requiring such packages to display health warnings and contain the correct number of cigarettes.

Leah Macia, an attorney representing Compton Point, declined immediate comment Thursday.





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