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Old Aug 1, 12, 12:09 pm   #1
 
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How many cartons of cigarettes can I take on a domestic flight to Florida?

I came to NY and found a place that sells cartons of cigarettes for one-third of the retail price. That's a lot cheaper than what I used to pay in Florida. I think they are not taxed and not legal either, I'm not sure. Now, I'm going back and I'd like to take 4-5 cartons for personal consumption only. Will I get into any trouble for that?
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Old Aug 1, 12, 12:32 pm   #2
 
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How many cartons of cigarettes can I take on a domestic flight to Florida?

I've frequently flown with 2-4 cartons and driven with 10-12 and have never been questioned of course those were legitimate (well taxes had been paid in the flight origin state). I'd think you'd be fine but if they're not legit and you do get pestered about them the stakes could be high, after all at ~13/pack in NYC who buys cigarettes in that area to take home?!
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Old Aug 1, 12, 12:47 pm   #3
 
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There are no restrictions on how many you can take. No customs internally.
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Old Aug 1, 12, 12:48 pm   #4
 
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Did you buy them at one of the Indian places in NY? Because they are technically on non US sovereign soil no taxes need to be paid. So fully legal.
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Old Aug 1, 12, 12:51 pm   #5
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I know little about cigarettes, but doesn't each pack have a stamp somewhere on it about taxes paid?

I would think that if you're rolling with a few cartons of smokes that haven't had taxes paid, someone at the airport could ask questions. Don't know where that falls jurisdictionally but at a minimum I would think that the police could impound the smokes, much like a CBP agent can if a tourist has a small number of Cuban cigars.

If the taxes have been paid, then I don't see why it would matter how many you have in the 2-4 carton range. A truck with 1,000 cartons...okay, that's another story.
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Old Aug 1, 12, 12:56 pm   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Redhead View Post
There are no restrictions on how many you can take. No customs internally.
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Originally Posted by Redhead View Post
Did you buy them at one of the Indian places in NY? Because they are technically on non US sovereign soil no taxes need to be paid. So fully legal.
Not customs, but aren't there specific interstate commerce laws related to alcohol and tobacco, specifically due to varying degrees of taxation?

In other words, it's not a customs thing or a problem as long as you're carrying an amount believably smokable by yourself, but maybe not truly unlimited...

I could be wrong...just hypothesizing that there isn't really an unlimited arbitrage opportunity in cigarettes just by buying them from Native Americans. At some point, somebody's going ask if you have intent to distribute. Guess you could always go with the Bam Morris response: "Nope, I'm just going to smoke it all myself..." (Okay, so Bam was weed, but you get the idea... )
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Old Aug 1, 12, 1:28 pm   #7
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There are no restrictions on how many you can take. No customs internally.
While you are right about no customs internally, it's illegal to sell cigarettes without paying taxes in the state you sell them.
If you are bringing a few cartons for personal use, no one will get upset. But of you have a carload of cigarette cartons, you will have a hard time convincing the police that the entire load is for personal use.
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Old Aug 1, 12, 2:26 pm   #8
 
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While you are right about no customs internally, it's illegal to sell cigarettes without paying taxes in the state you sell them.
If you are bringing a few cartons for personal use, no one will get upset. But of you have a carload of cigarette cartons, you will have a hard time convincing the police that the entire load is for personal use.
Unless you buy the, on an Indian reservation. Then no taxes need be paid.

Yes, I should have specified, no limited for personal use. Buying a truckload will set off alarm bells regarding intent to sell. The OP mentioned 4-5 cartons. No issue there.
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Old Aug 1, 12, 2:46 pm   #9
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Welcome to Flyertalk.

Per the state of Florida

Florida law allows any person to purchase up to 3 cartons of cigarettes outside the state in accordance with the laws of the place where purchased and bring them into this state, without the Florida taxes being applied. The cigarettes must be personally brought into the state by you.

Florida law allows any person to buy cigarettes through direct mail services from outside the state without the stamp being on the cigarettes, but the taxes on these cigarettes do apply. If the direct sales company you purchase your cigarettes from does not charge you the taxes and remit them to the state, you are responsible for doing so.


Of course, if you bought them illegally in New York that's a different issue.

I don't see the TSA caring should they notice them, but who knows?
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Old Aug 1, 12, 3:38 pm   #10
 
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I don't see the TSA caring should they notice them, but who knows?
Well, you never know what's going to strike the TSA's fancy ("Today, we'll protect the nation from cigarette smugglers!") but as a rule, none of the laws and regulations cited here have anything to do with the method of travel. That is, the applicable laws for the OP would apply equally if s/he was driving or taking the train as opposed to flying. The difference of course is that at some point during the air travel experience, an "authority figure" will have the chance to examine the OP's belongings. But that doesn't change the legality of it.
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Old Aug 1, 12, 6:53 pm   #11
 
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Thank you all so much for replying. I guess it's safe to take 4-5 cartons unless I'm unlucky (well if I'm unlucky, a lot worse can happen).

If it still causes an issue at the airport, I'll just through out the cigarettes or pay FL state tax.

@Redhead what do you mean by "non US sovereign soil"? They are in the US so US law applies to them too. And yes, I'm getting my cigarettes from one of those store.

Last edited by fr600; Aug 1, 12 at 6:58 pm..
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Old Aug 1, 12, 8:51 pm   #12
 
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How many cartons of cigarettes can I take on a domestic flight to Florida?

Indian (or native American if you prefer) reservations are either not subject to us law or it applies differently to them (they are recognized as a separate entity similar to Vatican city in Italy) I don't pretend to know the details but that's the 100,000 foot view of their status.

That's why the smokes are cheaper there because they are not subject to the same taxation as the surrounding area (state/country).
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Old Aug 1, 12, 9:01 pm   #13
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Indian (or native American if you prefer) reservations are either not subject to us law or it applies differently to them
Which is why they're also allowed to operate casinos.

I always wondered why there was a smoke shop just outside the downtown part of Reno right almost under an interstate overpass.
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Old Aug 2, 12, 5:46 am   #14
 
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Did you buy them at one of the Indian places in NY? Because they are technically on non US sovereign soil no taxes need to be paid. So fully legal.
LMAO! When you said "Indian places" I pictured a little 7-11 type convenience store run by Indians (or Pakistanis or whatever) not a Native American reservation. I was trying to figure out how a Indian store could even POSSIBLY be viewed as non-US property.

If the stuff sold on reservations is tax-ex because it's not on US soil, aren't people technically importing those items into the US once they leave the reservation and, if so, wouldn't the same tax laws, customs regs, etc apply as if the person bought the items from Europe or anyplace else outside the US?
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Old Aug 2, 12, 9:17 am   #15
 
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LMAO! When you said "Indian places" I pictured a little 7-11 type convenience store run by Indians.
That's exactly how the store is.
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