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March 29, 1971
Honorable Don L. Talley
State Senator, 18th District
Olympia, Washington 98501 Cite as: AGLO 1971 No. 53 (not official)
This is written in response to your recent letter requesting information regarding the authority of the state department of revenue in the area of enforcement of our cigarette excise tax laws against persons legally purchasing cigarettes in another state and then bringing them into this state either for resale or for consumption.
In general response to this request, we are enclosing herewith a xerox copy of the full text of chapter 82.24 RCW, relating to the cigarette excise tax. Your particular attention is directed to RCW 82.24.110 and 82.24.120, under which the resale or consumption of cigarettes in this state without compliance with the tax laws is declared to be violative thereof.
As for the matter of searching for, and seizing contraband cigarettes found in vehicles entering this state from some other state, see RCW 82.24.120, 82.24.130, 82.24.140 and 82.24.190. To these particular statutory references we would only add, by way of factual information, that so far as we are aware from discussions with representatives of the department of revenue,no authority is claimed by the department to make so-called "spot checks" of vehicles entering from out of state for the purpose of locating and seizing contraband cigarettes. Instead, we are informed that the department's enforcement program involves only the stopping and searching of entering vehicles based upon the previously observed out of state sale of cigarettes to one or more occupants of the vehicle in question.
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It is hoped that the foregoing information and explanation of this matter will be of some assistance to you.
Very truly yours,
FOR THE ATTORNEY GENERAL
Philip H. Austin
Deputy Attorney General