SPRINGFIELD, Il (KMOX)-With Illinois’ cigarette tax on the verge of going up another dollar a pack, the agency charged with collecting that tax will be keeping a closer eye on those hoping to illegally avoid paying it.
Spokeswoman Susan Hofer says if Governor Quinn signs the tax increase into law, the Department of Revenue will be expecting to see an increase in people smuggling cigarettes from places like neighboring Missouri, where the tax is the lowest in the nation.
She says the department uses local and federal law enforcement agencies to help find smugglers, “We look for suspicious activity and other things that I’m not going to tell your listeners how we find people.”
Hofer she says the average smoker who crosses the border to buy cheaper smokes doesn’t have to worry, “An individual buying a couple of cartons of cigarettes is not really the issue. The issue is people packing vans with hundreds of cartons of cigarettes.”
Recently the department busted some people who brought in hundreds of cartons from Missouri, and a 64-year-old Danville man was arrested with 88 cartons bought in Missouri and on the internet.
Hofer says you can’t avoid the tax by buying online or from Indian reservations. She says a new federal rule allows the department to track those sales and collect the tax from the buyers.