Cigarette Tax Online Filing Program

The Cigarette Tax Online Filing Program is offered to provide a more convenient method of filing cigarette tax forms (returns, reports and schedules), and paying amounts owed.

This page contains the general instructions needed to file tax forms electronically with the Board of Equalization’s Cigarette Tax Online Filing Program. It also contains file type and formatting requirements, sample Excel workbooks for creating schedule/transaction files, and other useful information related to cigarette tax eFiling. The information on this page is designed to provide the rules, procedures, and technical requirements for electronic filing used by Information Providers (BOE licensees and registrants) and Software Developers, collectively referred to as Online Participants. Participants are responsible for complying with the information provided on this page and any supplemental communication provided by the BOE.

Eligible Forms for Cigarette Tax Online Filling

Cigarette Tax Electronic Filling Guide

The Cigarette Tax Electronic Filing Guide contains general instructions needed to file tax forms electronically for the BOE's Cigarette Tax Online Filing Program.

Electronic Payments

Cigarette Tax Online Filing Program participants are encouraged to make online payments for any amounts due.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Frequently asked questions and topics of interest to Cigarette Tax Online Program participants.

Submitting an Online Form or Return

Submitting an Online cigarette tax form, schedule or return is straightforward:

  1. Login on the BOE's secure website as a Registered User or using your Express Login code.
  2. Select the account and period for which you want to submit an online filing,
  3. Complete the online tax form and attach your supporting schedule/transaction file,
  4. Select "Continue."
  5. Follow the screen prompts to complete the submission process.

Schedule/Transaction File Templates

The BOE has developed Microsoft Excel workbooks for each tax form accepted electronically. The workbook converts schedule/transaction records entered on a worksheet into a FLT "flat" file format. Though these workbooks may be used to create valid FLT files, they are intended as examples for reference only. The BOE does not endorse the Microsoft Excel product, nor does it accept liability for any problems resulting from submitting an electronic file created from the workbook. The BOE's Excel workbook may be used without a complete understanding of the FLT file format; and BOE staff is available for assistance.

Account Type Excel
(CD) Cigarette Distributor’s Tax Report Excel
(CM) Cigarette Manufacturer’s Tax Return of Taxable Distributions in California Excel

FLT File Specifications

The FLT File Specifications provide the information online filing participants need to create their own schedule/transaction files. Use the FLT File electronic map specifications when developing FLT files using your own resources. The BOE requires that all schedules provide the detailed information needed to perform tracking of monthly cigarette transactions

Optional Electronic File Testing Process

The information required for cigarette tax reporting is more detailed than many tax forms at the BOE. For this reason, the Cigarette Tax Online Filing Program offers its participants an optional file testing process. Testing can be done to ensure you are able to submit valid electronic files to the BOE. It provides a safe environment where mistakes can be made and resolved and you can become comfortable with online filing without affecting your actual returns. During the testing process, you will work with BOE staff and once you are ready, staff will authorize you to begin filing actual returns electronically.

Please note: During the testing process, you must continue to file your actual returns using your current return filing method. Returns submitted during this testing process are only "practice filings" and do not fulfill your return filing obligation.

Steps for Electronic File Testing

Electronic file testing is composed of multiple steps. The testing process may be repeated until both you and the BOE are comfortable that you are able to submit valid electronic files to the BOE. The BOE recommends that you use actual data from current periods to create the test file(s).

  • Contact Special Taxes and Fees via email (BOECTeFile@boe.ca.gov) and notify us that you wish to initiate the electronic file testing process. You must submit Form BOE-82, Authorization for Electronic Transmission of Data with this notification. The BOE-82 authorizes the BOE to communicate online filing matters to you via email and is also available on the Cigarette Tax Online Filing Program website.
  • Log in and submit a return for the account you are testing. You may only submit test files until BOE has authorized you to begin filing actual returns. Remember to flag your transaction files as "Test."
  • Request that the test return be reviewed by sending the BOE an Electronic Test File Review Request form. You can email this form to us at BOECTeFile@boe.ca.gov for faster processing.

Based on the results of your test file submission, the BOE will authorize you to file actual returns or ask you to resolve identified reporting issues and submit a corrected test file.

Once you have successfully completed file testing, you will be authorized to begin filing your actual tax forms online.

Electronic Test File Review Request Forms

Select one of the two review forms below, depending on the type of electronic test file you will be submitting. These forms are only required during the testing process.

For details on electronic file testing, refer to Chapter 6 in the Cigarette Tax Electronic Filing Guide. Refer to the FLT file specifications for the syntax requirements of the schedule/transaction files.

Cigarette eFiling Glossary

The Cigarette Tax Electronic Filing Glossary is a compilation of cigarette tax, Internet, and electronic filing terms provided for reference.

Cigarette Tax Reporting Information

Note: Transportation Mode Codes, Schedule Codes, and Units of Measure can be found in BOE-810-CTE, Instructions for Preparing Cigarette and Tobacco Schedules

Electronic File Format Examples

Examples are intended to illustrate how a tax form would be reported to the BOE electronically. For each tax form eligible to be filed with the Cigarette Tax Electronic Filing Program, an example of the paper tax form is provided along with a completed Excel workbook used to create the schedule/transaction example.

Account Type Paper Example Excel Workbook Transaction File
Example
(CD) Cigarette Distributor’s Tax Report Adobe Acrobat PDF Excel 2003 Adobe Acrobat PDF
(CM) Cigarette Manufacturer’s Tax Return of Taxable Distributions in California Adobe Acrobat PDF Excel 2003 Adobe Acrobat PDF

Confidentiality Statement

The Cigarette Online Filing Program adheres to all confidentiality procedures and requirements set forth by the BOE. The BOE’s form BOE-324-GEN, Privacy Notice – Information Provided to the Board of Equalization provides information on the BOE’s confidentiality procedures and requirements.

Quick Links