Miss. tobacco tax called unconstitutional

A Mississippi company that sells tobacco products wants the state to stop collecting taxes on cigarettes sold at retail outlets outside the state.

In a lawsuit filed Friday in Hinds County Chancery Court, the Corr-Williams Co. said a 2009 amendment to the state’s tobacco tax policy that applies a $.0125-fee to cigarettes that pass through warehouses in the state violates the U.S. Constitution by applying an unfair burden on cigarettes sold through interstate commerce.

The lawsuit does not challenge the portion of the law that applies taxes to products sold in Mississippi.

Based in Pearl, the Corr-Williams company has warehouses in Columbia and Natchez.

Commonwealth Brands Inc., a Bowling Green, Ky.-based cigarette manufacturer that distributes its tobacco products through Mississippi, joined Corr-Williams in the lawsuit.

In the complaint, Commonwealth said as much as 80 percent of its products sold through Mississippi distributors go to consumers living in other states.


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