Licensure of distributors and unclassified importers. Successor tax liability
(a) Each distributor or unclassified importer shall obtain a license issued by the commissioner before manufacturing, purchasing, importing, receiving or acquiring any untaxed tobacco products in this state. The commissioner may, in his or her discretion, refuse to issue a license if such commissioner has reasonable ground to believe (1) that the applicant has wilfully made any false statement of substance with respect to such application for license, (2) that the applicant has neglected to pay any taxes due to this state, or (3) that the applicant has been convicted of violating any of the cigarette or other tobacco product tax laws of this or any other state or the cigarette tax laws of the United States or has such a criminal record that the commissioner reasonably believes that such applicant is not a suitable person to be issued a license, provided no refusal shall be rendered under this subdivision except in accordance with the provisions of sections 46a-80 and 46a-81. The fee for a distributor's license shall be two hundred dollars a year. There shall be no fee for an unclassified importer's license. Each distributor's license shall be conspicuously displayed on the premises covered by the license. Notwithstanding the provisions of section 12-15, the commissioner shall publish on the Internet web site of the Department of Revenue Services a list of every distributor licensed under this chapter. The commissioner shall prescribe the form of application for a distributor's license and for an unclassified importer's license.
(b) (1) If any distributor or unclassified importer liable for any amount due under this chapter sells out his or her business or stock of goods or quits the business, such distributor's or importer's successors or assigns shall withhold a sufficient amount of the purchase price to pay the amount due under this chapter from the distributor or importer until the distributor or importer provides to such successor or assignee a receipt from the commissioner showing that such amount has been paid or a certificate stating that no amount is due.
(2) If any such successor or assignee fails to withhold the purchase price as required, such successor or assignee shall be personally liable for the payment of the amount required to be withheld by such successor or assignee to the extent of the purchase price, valued in money.
(c) (1) Not later than the sixtieth day after the latest of the dates specified in subdivision (2) of this subsection, the commissioner shall either issue the certificate stating that no amount is due or mail notice of the amount that must be paid as a condition of issuing the certificate. Such notice shall be mailed to such successor or assignee at such successor's or assignee's address as it appears on the records of the commissioner.
(2) For purposes of subdivision (1) of this subsection, the latest of the following dates shall apply: (A) The date the commissioner receives a written request from the successor or assignee for a certificate; (B) the date of the sale of the business or stock of goods; or (C) the date the former owner's records are made available for audit.
(d) Failure of the commissioner to mail the notice referred to in subsection (c) of this section shall release the successor or assignee from any further obligation to withhold the purchase price as provided in subsection (b) of this section. The period within which the obligation of the successor or assignee may be enforced shall commence on the date the distributor or importer sells out his or her business or stock of goods or quits the business or on the date that the assessment against such distributor or importer becomes final, whichever event occurs later, and shall end three years after such date.
(e) The certificate provided for in subsection (c) of this section may be issued after the payment of all amounts due under this chapter, according to the records of the department as of the date of the certificate, or after the payment of the amounts is secured to the satisfaction of the commissioner.
(f) The obligation of the successor or assignee shall be enforced by serving a notice of successor liability on the successor or assignee. The notice shall be served in the manner prescribed under section 12-330i, for service of a notice of assessment, not later than three years after the date the commissioner is notified by the successor or assignee of the purchase of the business or stock of goods. The successor or assignee may protest the assessment by requesting a hearing in accordance with the provisions of section 12-330l. Sixty days after the date on which a notice of assessment is mailed, an assessment shall become final except for any amount as to which the successor or assignee has requested a hearing with the commissioner in accordance with the provisions of section 12-330l.