About 30,000 Arizona smokers who bought cigarettes online are being hit with bills in unpaid state taxes.
The Arizona Department of Revenue says smokers owe the state more than $20 for each carton they purchased after 2006 through online companies that offered discounts by sidestepping state use and luxury taxes.
Smokers who thought they had saved more than half off the retail price of cigarettes are receiving letters from the state demanding immediate payment for the unpaid taxes, plus penalties and interest.
In 2012, federal law made online cigarette sales illegal. Companies were forced to give customer lists and purchase data to the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, which distributed it to states.