The Chicago Tribune has an interesting update on state efforts to collect cigarette taxes from people who buy smokes online. New York, Michigan, Illinois, and other states with high taxes have begun to subpoena sales records from online merchants and send bills to startled smokers. The Tribune cites a Michigan woman who opened an envelope from the state Department of Treasury to find a demand for $4,798 in back taxes ($2 a pack in Michigan) owed by her boyfriend for cigarettes he bought over the Internet. She complains that smokers were not given adequate notice that looking for cigarette bargains on the Internet is illegal and that smokers are being unfairly singled out, given all the people who evade state sales taxes by ordering stuff online. "It's not politically correct for anyone to be a smoker right now," she says, "so they'll come after us."
The Tribune reports that "44 state attorneys general will meet in Washington this month to discuss the problem of tobacco sales over the Net." Maybe the problem is exorbitant cigarette taxes.