Pennsylvania Vaping Tax: What it Means for You
As of Monday, October 1st, vapers in Pennsylvania had to pay more for their habits. Pennsylvania’s governor, Tom Wolf, signed off on a new 2016-2017 revenue package that he hopes will bring in $1.3 billion dollars in taxes. House Bill 1198 (now called Act No. 84), Article 12-A requires vape retailers to pay a 40% ‘vaping tax’ on the purchase price of all their vapor products. This is ALL products, devices, and liquids.
Part of implementing this tax includes a ‘Floor Tax’ which went into effect on October 1st as well; all vapor retailers were required to pay a 40% tax on any products they had on their floors (shelves, back rooms, what have you). This tax applies to all of their vaping products; devices, nicotine e-liquids, and non-nicotine e-liquids. Retailers must pay this tax by December of this year or face penalties.
As for consumers, anyone who purchases vaping products from an unlicensed dealer over the internet or via mail must pay this same 40% tax on the retail price. The Act goes on to say anyone who possesses any ‘tobacco products’ (as of October 1st) for which they have not paid the required tax will be guilty of committing a summary offense; an offense which can result in fines and up to 30 days in jail. All vape manufacturers, distributors, and retailers must obtain licenses from the state in order to sell their vape products in Pennsylvania. Retailers in Pennsylvania can only purchase products from licensed distributors and wholesalers or they will face fines.
Vape shop owners across the state have said this instantaneous floor tax will lead to the inevitable closing of their stores. This 40% tax could wipe out small vape shops as they will be forced to pay taxes on their current inventory.
Many vape shops ran huge sales prior to October 1st in hopes of reducing their inventories before the tax could hit.
Both retailers and customers are concerned about what this price hike will do for the vaping industry in Pennsylvania.
No Vape Shops = No Vaping
This tax may put vape stores out of business, and many people of out a job. Many small businesses may find the 40% floor tax to be insurmountable. Without vape shops, vapers aren’t sure what options they’ll have. Some vapers are afraid the only cost effective option will be to go back to smoking tobacco cigarettes, which is not something they really want to do. However, if it’s their only option, many former smokers may have to switch back.
Many small vape shop owners are left wondering if lawmakers even gave a minute’s thought to the vape industry in their state. If these shops go out of business, the state won’t have their revenue anyway. So, no 40%. No nothing. Lawmakers expect to raise $490 million dollars with this tax, but without vape shops, it will be hard to meet those expectations.
What This Vaping Tax Means for You
Consumers in Pennsylvania will see the cost of vape products increase as retailers pass this ‘vaping tax’ burden onto them. Vapers can expect to pay as much as $8 more per bottle of e-liquid. A Halo Reactor starter kit, currently priced at $60 would cost an extra $24 (so $84 before shipping and even shipping will be taxed).
Vapers will also find less variety when they do go shopping, as retailers can’t afford to purchase the amount of stock they once did.
Of course, the other option open to vapers is to simply go somewhere else. They can just cross state lines to save money. Retailers in Pennsylvania will no longer be competitive with vape shops just across state lines. As this competition decreases, more and more vape shops may close their doors. This means less variety for you, higher prices, and a loss of access to products, especially locally.
Efforts to Repeal the Tax
On September 27th, in an effort to save vape shops from closing their doors, the Pennsylvania House Finance Committee voted in favor of HB 2342. This bill would repeal the 40% tax and replace it with 5-cents-per-milliliter tax. This would be a retail tax on e-liquids. If this passes, you’ll pay just $1.50 extra per 30-millimeter bottle or an extra .50 per 10-millimeter bottle. It’s still more, but it’s much more palatable.
HB 2342 still has to be passed by the full house, senate, and governor before the 40% tax can be repealed.
What You Can Do
If you are interested in making your voice heard on this issue, contact your local representatives today. Send them a message urging them to oppose any extra vaping tax on vapor products. You can also sign this change.org petition, adding your voice to thousands of others.
The opinions and other information contained in these blog posts and comments do not necessarily reflect the opinions or positions of Nicopure Labs LLC, owner of the Halo and HaloCigs marks.
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