June 27, 2019
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The Florida Statutes

The 2003 Florida Statutes

Title XIV
TAXATION AND FINANCE
Chapter 210
TAX ON TOBACCO PRODUCTS
View Entire Chapter
Section 210.18, Florida Statutes 2003

210.18  Penalties for tax evasion; reports by sheriffs.--

(1)  Any person who possesses or transports any unstamped packages of cigarettes upon the public highways, roads, or streets in the state for the purpose of sale; or who sells or offers for sale unstamped packages of cigarettes in violation of the provisions of this part; or who willfully attempts in any manner to evade or defeat any tax imposed by this part, or the payment thereof, is guilty of a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083. Any person who has been convicted of a violation of any provision of the cigarette tax law and who is thereafter convicted of a further violation of the cigarette tax law is, upon conviction of such further offense, guilty of a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

(2)  Any wholesale or retail dealer who fails, neglects, or refuses to comply with, or violates the provisions of, this part or the rules and regulations promulgated by the division under this part is guilty of a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083. Any wholesale or retail dealer who has been convicted of a violation of any provision of the cigarette tax law and who is thereafter convicted of a further violation of the cigarette tax law is, upon conviction of such further offense, guilty of a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

(3)  Any person who falsely or fraudulently makes, forges, alters, or counterfeits any stamp or impression die used in meter machines prescribed by the division under the provisions of this part; or, with intent to evade taxes, jams, tampers with, or alters such a machine; or causes or procures to be falsely or fraudulently made, forged, altered, or counterfeited any such stamp or die; or knowingly and willfully utters, purchases, passes or tenders as true any such false, altered, or counterfeited stamp or die impression is guilty of a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

(4)(a)  Any person or corporation that owns or is in possession of any cigarettes upon which a tax is imposed by the cigarette law, or would be imposed if such cigarettes were manufactured in or brought into this state in accordance with the regulatory provisions of the cigarette law, and upon which such tax has not been paid is, in addition to the fines and penalties otherwise provided in the cigarette law, personally liable for the amount of the tax imposed on such cigarettes; and the division may collect such tax from such person or corporation by suit or by restitution if the taxpayer is convicted, found guilty, or pleads nolo contendere or guilty to any crime under this chapter. This paragraph is applicable even if adjudication is withheld.

(b)  This subsection does not apply to a manufacturer or distributor licensed under the cigarette law, to a state bonded warehouse, or to a person possessing not in excess of three cartons of such cigarettes, which cigarettes were purchased by such possessor outside the state in accordance with the laws of the place where purchased and brought into this state by such possessor. The burden of proof that such cigarettes were purchased outside the state and in accordance with the laws of the place where purchased shall in all cases be upon the possessor of such cigarettes.

(5)(a)  All cigarettes on which taxes are imposed by the cigarette law, or would be imposed if such cigarettes were manufactured in or brought into this state in accordance with the regulatory provisions of such law, which are found in the possession or custody or within the control of any person for the purpose of being sold or removed by him or her in fraud of the cigarette law or with design to evade payment of such taxes may be seized by the division or any supervisor, sheriff, deputy sheriff, or other law enforcement agent and shall be forfeited to the state.

(b)  This subsection does not apply to a person possessing not in excess of three cartons of cigarettes, which cigarettes were purchased by such possessor outside the state in accordance with the laws of the place where purchased and brought into this state by such possessor.

(6)(a)  Every person, firm, or corporation, other than a licensee under the provisions of this part, who possesses, removes, deposits, or conceals, or aids in the possessing, removing, depositing, or concealing of, any unstamped cigarettes not in excess of 50 cartons is guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083. In lieu of the penalties provided in those sections, however, the person, firm, or corporation may pay the tax plus a penalty equal to the amount of the tax authorized under s. 210.02 on the unstamped cigarettes.

(b)  Every person, firm, or corporation, other than a licensee under the provisions of this part, who possesses, removes, deposits, or conceals, or aids in the possessing, removing, depositing, or concealing of, any unstamped cigarettes in excess of 50 cartons is presumed to have knowledge that they have not been taxed and is guilty of a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

(c)  This section does not apply to a person possessing not in excess of three cartons of such cigarettes purchased by such possessor outside the state in accordance with the laws of the place where purchased and brought into this state by such possessor. The burden of proof that such cigarettes were purchased outside the state and in accordance with the laws of the place where purchased shall in all cases be upon the possessor of such cigarettes.

(7)  Any sheriff, deputy sheriff, or police officer, upon the seizure of any unstamped cigarettes under this section, shall promptly report such seizure to the division or its representative, together with a description of all such unstamped cigarettes seized, so that the state may be kept informed as to the size and magnitude of the illicit cigarette business.

(8)(a)  It is unlawful for any person to conspire with any other person or persons to do any act in violation of the provisions of this part, when any one or more of such persons does or commits any act to effect the object of the conspiracy.

(b)  Any person who violates the provisions of this subsection:

1.  If the act conspired to be done would constitute a misdemeanor, is guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.

2.  If the act conspired to be done would constitute a felony, is guilty of a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

History.--s. 16, ch. 21946, 1943; s. 17, ch. 22645, 1945; s. 1, ch. 26320, 1949; ss. 16, 35, ch. 69-106; s. 1, ch. 69-253; s. 1, ch. 69-254; s. 1, ch. 69-275; s. 1, ch. 69-276; s. 1, ch. 69-397; s. 121, ch. 71-136; s. 20, ch. 73-334; s. 61, ch. 77-104; s. 2, ch. 77-421; s. 12, ch. 79-11; s. 1, ch. 84-19; s. 14, ch. 87-86; s. 6, ch. 89-293; s. 17, ch. 91-224; s. 1102, ch. 95-147.

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