SC tobacco wholesalers to get more to collect tax

Tobacco wholesalers will get more money to collect the higher cigarette taxes that take effect in South Carolina on July 1.

Wholesalers will get an extra $4 million to collect and process the 50-cents-per pack increase in the cigarette tax.

The state Revenue Department gives wholesalers a 3.5 percent incentive to collect and report sales taxes by certain deadlines. Wholesalers have been getting about $800,000 a year to collect the old 7-cents-per pack tax.

The Revenue Department says there are more than 500 cigarette wholesalers licensed in South Carolina. An agency spokeswoman didn't know how many collect the incentive.

The cigarette tax is expected to raise about $135 million a year, most of it to pay for health care programs.