Requirements for Tobacco Importers Operations
TTB has approved your application to import tobacco products. You must keep all approval documents readily available for examination by TTB officials.
The following information explains the requirements you must meet to maintain your business.
You can file your operational report and/or file your excise tax returns and make payments electronically using Pay.gov.
- Getting Started
Your system (computer) must meet technical requirements in order to access the Pay.gov online application. See more about getting started with Pay.gov.
- User Agreement
You must complete TTB F 5000.31 - User Agreement with the requested information to obtain a User ID and password to access the system.
You must obtain a Pay.gov ID as part of the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) application process to file electronically. Your use of the ID constitutes agreement to the provisions in this disclaimer.
- User Guides
Our user guides give step by step instructions for performing tasks in Pay.gov. From accessing your profile, amending and filing reports, as well as access to other publications that will help you navigate the system. Download the user guides. You can also download the Customer User Guide.
As an importer of tobacco products you must keep records and submit reports of the physical receipt and disposition of tobacco products. These records and reports must be retained at your premises for not less than three years. See 27 CFR 41.204 through 208.
- Monthly Report - Tobacco Products or Processed Tobacco Importer (TTB F 5220.6)
This report must be filed each month and sent to this office no later than the 15th day of the month following the month which the report covers (your first report covering July will be due by August 15th.) You must file this report even if no transactions occurred during the reporting period. You can file electronically using Pay.gov (recommended) or submit the paper form to TTB (see address below). Download TTB F 5220.6 [PDF].
- Where to File if using a Paper Form:
Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau
National Revenue Center
550 Main St, Ste. 8002
Cincinnati, Ohio 45202-521
Prepare and keep records at the tobacco importer premises; they should be available for inspection by a TTB officer during business hours. Preserve required records for a period of not less than three years from either the date of the transaction or the date of the last entry required to be made, whichever is later.
You must report to us any change in the name, address, ownership, management, or control of the business without delay. If you filed your original application on paper, and haven't requested that your data be migrated to our Permits Online system, you should file these amendments on the TTB forms described in the applicable regulations. If you filed your original application through Permits Online, you should also electronically file your amendments in Permits Online. For more information about changes see the regulations at 27 CFR 40.41.220-228.
- Change in Location
Select this amendment if you will be moving your business operations to another location within the same state. If moving to another state you will need to file an original application. If moving to another state you will need to file an original application. You will need to submit a new diagram (if applicable), lease agreement, and either a superseding bond or consent of surety (if applicable).
- Change in Mailing Address
Select this amendment if there has been a change to where you will receive mail.
- Change in Address – USPS
Select this amendment if your address was changed by the United States Postal Service but no physical move has taken place.
- Add/Remove Signing Authority
Select this amendment if you will be making any changes to the existing signing authority on file. You will be required to attach the appropriate documentation showing where the authorization is granted.
- Add/Remove Power of Attorney
Select this amendment if adding or removing individuals from outside your company with the power to sign and/or act on behalf of the company. When adding a Power of Attorney you can upload the form in Permits Online. (TTB F 5000.8 [PDF]).
- Change in Business Name
Select this amendment if there has been a change to your legal business entity's name. You will need to attach a copy of your amended articles showing the name change.
- Change in Control
A change in actual or legal control occurs when there are changes in stock ownership, LLC membership ownership, or possibly major changes in the corporate officers or directors of a corporation. In such situations, the legal business entity which operated the business in the past continues to operate the subject business. In other words, the same legal entity remains in existence which continues to operate the business in question.
If adding a new person an Owner Officer Information Application must be completed through Permits Online.
- Change in Officer, Director, Member, or Stockholder/Interest
Select this amendment when there is a change in the officers, directors, members and managers, as well as any stockholders who hold 10 percent or more. An Owner Officer Information Application must be completed for each new person through Permits Online.
- Add/Remove Variance or Alternate Method
Selecting this amendment is a request to vary from the regulations. You will need a notice stating the regulations you wish to vary from along with a reason why this variance is needed.
- Termination of Business
Select this amendment if you are discontinuing business.
- Laws – Tobacco Authority Under Title 26, Internal Revenue Code
Chapter 52 -- Tobacco Products and Cigarette Papers and Tubes
Part 41 – Importation of tobacco products and cigarette papers and tubes
An Importers permit expires five years from the effective date shown on the permit.
Importers of tobacco products wishing to continue operations beyond the expiration of the permit must apply for renewal of the permit within the 30 days prior to expiration of the permit. See the instructions in Permits Online for further guidance.
- Renewal Qualification
Permits will be renewed only for those who have engaged in the importing of tobacco products under the current permit during the one-year period immediately prior to the date of the application to renew.
It is the permit holder's responsibility to comply with federal and state requirements. This information does not relieve an importer of his/her responsibility to comply with any other additional federal and state requirements for tobacco products which may not be listed.
- Master Settlement Agreement (MSA)
If your business deals in cigarettes, roll-your-own tobacco, or smokeless tobacco, most states impose MSA fees and requirements. These fees and requirements are in addition to any state excise taxes. For information contact the National Association of Attorneys General.
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
The Federal Cigarette Labeling and Advertising Act (FCLAA), 15 U.S.C. 1335a(a), in part, requires that each person who manufactures, packages, or imports cigarettes annually submit to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), a list of ingredients added to tobacco in the manufacturer of cigarettes (Ingredient Report). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Office on Smoking and Health (OSH), has been delegated the responsibility of implementing these provisions. The Ingredient Report must include all additives and flavors. Submissions are due to CDC, OSH by March 31st; and for importers, the Ingredient Report is also due upon initial importation into the United States. The report submitted by March 31st each year must represent the ingredients added to tobacco in the manufacture of cigarettes during the previous calendar year. See the HHS website for more information.
- The Smokeless Tobacco Health Education Act (CSTHEA)
15 U.S.C. 4403(a)(1)(A), in part requires each manufacturer, packager, or importer of smokeless tobacco products to annually submit to HHS the list of ingredients added to tobacco in the manufacture of smokeless tobacco products (Ingredient Report). CSTHEA, 15 U.S.C. 4403(a)(1)(B), further requires the submission of the quantity of nicotine contained in each smokeless tobacco product (Nicotine Report).
- Warning Statement
Warning Statements are required by Title 15 U.S.C. sections 1333 and 4402 for cigarettes and smokeless tobacco enforced by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). See the FTC website for more information.
The Food and Drug Administration received authority to regulate tobacco products under the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (Tobacco Control Act). Tobacco products are subject to the same general requirements that apply to other FDA-regulated products.
There are additional responsibilities and requirements that you may have to meet, including state laws.
- TTB personnel have the right of entry into your premises.
- Please ensure you are in compliance with your state and local authorities before commencing operations (including building/use permits and zoning requirements). If you intend to sell your products in any other State (other than the state in which you are applying), you must contact each state individually because they all have different shipping laws. See our direct shipping page for more information.