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How to obtain a tobacco License in the State of Maine?

Definition of Retailer: Any person who, in the usual course of business, purchases or receives cigarettes from any source for the purpose of sale to the ultimate consumer and any person who, owns, leases or otherwise operates one or more vending machines for the purpose of sale of cigarettes to the ultimate consumer.

Definition of Distributor: Any person engaged in this State in the business of producing or manufacturing cigarettes in this State, importing cigarettes into this State or making wholesale purchases or sales of cigarettes in this State on which the tax imposed by this chapter has not been paid.

Eligibility for applying as a tobacco retailer in the State of Maine?

Any person who wants to start a business as a tobacco retailer in the State of Maine is required to apply for a retail license on form HHE-609 available on Division of Environmental and Community Health, Government of Maine website. It is a detailed form which required you to provide information about the following:

  • Your license category and license type.
  • Your business and business owner information.
  • Complete mailing address.
  • Nature of business.
  • Timing of business.
  • Vending machines locations.
  • Name of Tobacco distributor.
  • Details of partners and corporate officers.
  • Statement of compliance with laws and regulations.
Licenses expire on March 31st and are renewed annually with an appropriate fee.

Should I apply for a separate retail license for each business location?

Yes, this is the State requirement that if you are a licensed tobacco retailer and vending machine operators, you have to apply for a separate license for each location and each vending machine.

What is the tobacco license fee?

The tobacco license fee for retailers and vending machine operators is charged as follows:

Retailers who earn less than 30% revenue from tobacco sales $100
Retailers who earn more than 30% and less than 50% revenue from tobacco sales $125
Retailers who earn more than 50% revenue from tobacco sales $150
Seasonal Mobile Fair Tobacco Vendor License* $50 for the first fair location + $10 for each additional fair location
Tobacco Vending Machine $50

What are the responsibilities of tobacco retailer?

  • The retailer must verify that it purchases tobacco products only from licensed tobacco distributors.
  • Retailer cannot sell or provide tobacco products to a minor, i.e. a person less than 18 years of age.
  • Retail License must be displayed in a prominent place in the business and be available for verification.
  • It is the retailer responsibility to keep tobacco products at a place in retail stores that can be easily accessible by the customers.
  • Vending machine operators should dispense only cigarettes or other tobacco products from vending machines.
  • Retailers selling tobacco products to consumers must also register with Maine Revenue Services for a sales tax registration number.

How can I apply for a tobacco distributor‘s license in Maine?

A distributor doing business in this State shall obtain a license by registering with the Maine revenue Services. A license must be obtained for each wholesale outlet maintained by the distributor.

An application for a distributor's license must be made on a form prescribed by the Maine revenue services. Licenses are issued in the form prescribed by the assessor and must contain the name and address of the licensed distributor, the address of the place of business and such other information as the assessor may require for the proper administration of this chapter.

Distributor license is issued for one year and is expired on June 30th. No fee is charged for issuance of tobacco distributor license.

Responsibilities of tobacco distributor?

  • A distributor may not sell or offer to sell tobacco products to a Maine retailer that does not hold a current Retail Tobacco license issued by the Maine Department of Health and Human Services.
  • Distributors should record the appropriate Retail Tobacco license number on all sales invoices.

What are tax rates on tobacco products in Maine?

  • Cigarettes: Tax rate is $2 per pack of 20 cigarettes.
  • Smokeless tobacco, Chewing tobacco and Snuff: $ 2.02 per ounce.
  • Other: 20% of the wholesale price.

What are the tax return filing requirements in the Maine?

The tobacco products distributor is responsible for payment of tax. Each tobacco distributor must file a monthly Tobacco Products Tax return on or before the last day of each month. The return must report all tobacco products kept, purchased, manufactured, brought in from outside Maine, or shipped or transported to retailers within the state during the preceding calendar month. Payment is due when the return is filed.

Failure to file return of income on time or to pay taxes along with return may impose a penalty on you which is $25 or 10% of the tax due whichever is greater.

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