Cigarette/Tobacco Permits (Retail)

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As of July 1, 2005, anyone selling tobacco products to the final consumer must be licensed as an Iowa Cigarette/Tobacco Retailer. The Iowa Retail Cigarette/Tobacco Permit is required for selling cigarettes only, tobacco products only, or both cigarette and tobacco products at retail.

"Tobacco products only" retailers are those who do not sell cigarettes, but sell any other tobacco products such as cigars, little cigars, roll-your-own products, chewing tobaccos, and other kinds and forms of tobacco, prepared in such manner as to be suitable for chewing or smoking in a pipe or otherwise, or both for chewing and smoking.

Cigarette/Tobacco Permits are valid for one year, from July 1 through June 30. New permits are effective from the date the application is approved through June 30. The annual fee is $100.00. If a permit is applied for after July 1, the amount due is prorated on a quarterly basis.

Date of Application

Fee for balance of fiscal year:

July 1 through September 30

$ 100

October 1 through December 31

$ 75

January 1 through March 31 

$ 50

April 1 through June 30

$ 25


Applications and fees should be submitted to the City Clerk's Office, 515 Clark Ave. Once approved, permits will be issued and sent to the retailer. The Retail Cigarette Permit must be displayed near the retailer's cigarette sales displays.

Permit holders will be sent reminder letters and applications for renewal each year in mid-May. Renewed permits are sent out prior to July 1st.

When an establishment goes out of business or no longer wishes to sell cigarettes, either the vending company or the owner may request a refund. The original Retail Cigarette Permit must be turned in before a refund may be made. Refunds are prorated on a quarterly basis as follows:

July 1 through September 30 $ 75
October 1 through December 31 $ 50
January 1 through March 31 $ 25
April 1 through June 30 $ 0

Change of Location:
When a business moves to a new location a new permit is needed. It may be typed, free of charge, in exchange for the old permit, as long as the business is still within the City of Ames. If the business is moving to a new jurisdiction, a refund is made and a new permit must purchased in the new jurisdiction.

Special Note Regarding Sales from Vending Machines:
Iowa law states that "cigarettes or tobacco products shall not be sold through a vending machine unless the vending machine is located in a place where the retailer ensures that no person younger than eighteen years of age is present or permitted to enter at any time." Any retailer who intends to use vending machines for retail sales must include with the application a notarized Certification Form, verifying that minors are not allowed to enter the area where the vending machine is. (Form may be found below.)

Application for Iowa Retail Cigarette/Tobacco Permit

This form is located on the Iowa Department of Revenue & Finance website.
Applications should be submitted with the appropriate fee to the Ames City Clerk's Office.

Certificate for Cigarette/Tobacco Product Vending Machines

This form is a City of Ames form and must be returned to the Ames City Clerk's Office along with the application if cigarettes are sold from vending machines at your establishment.

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