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    W.Va. Likely to Lower Smokeless Tax

    Reduced rate would be equal to a discount available to cigarette wholesalers.


    CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Passage of a bill to give tobacco wholesalers a 4 percent discount on payments of the new smokeless tobacco tax appears on track as the state Tax Division has notified wholesalers they will be eligible for a rebate on payments since Jan. 1.

    The State Senate amended the bill last year to extend the 4 percent discount given to cigarette wholesalers to smokeless tobacco products and cigars.

    Smokeless tobacco wholesalers argued that they are entitled to the discount on smokeless tobacco tax payments because the 2001 law imposing the tax says it should be equal to the cigarette tax.

    Cigarette wholesalers receive the 4 percent discount on cigarette tax payments to offset administrative costs, including the cost of affixing the state tax stamp on each pack of cigarettes.

    The discount would reduce smokeless tobacco tax collections by about $80,000 a year.

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