Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Tough Requirements for Renewal of Michigan Smoke Free Law Exemptions

If your business has an exemption from the Michigan Smoke Free Law, you must file an application for a renewal this month to obtain an exemption for 2011. The deadline to file a renewal is January 31. Outside of casinos, the only exemptions existing are for cigar bars and tobacco specialty retailers.

The Michigan Department of Community Health is asking for a great deal of information to obtain the renewal. The documents necessary to renew your exemption are much more than required to procure the initial exemption. Documentation substantiating the business has a sufficient percentage of sales from tobacco products or cigars (depending on which exemption you have) needs to be attached. The application is rather vague as to what is necessary. This could range from daily sales receipt totals for the entire year, or monthly sales reports. That's not all. Believe it or not, there is the requirement that a Certified Public Accountant state his opinion that your sales meet the threshold. Even photos of the store from specific positions must abe attached, along with other documents.

All in all, the renewal is very complicated. Likely, this is to ensure that the exemptions are not abused. However, the requirements may be throwing out the baby with the bath water. Many business owners who legitimately qualify may fail to properly report or comply with the requests and lose the exemption.  Businesses may not break there sales out into categories and fail to have the necessary documents. They may use an accountant who is not a CPA. Nonetheless, it's unlikely a CPA here would be adding individual invoices or sales by department. This requirement does little to ensure compliance.

Be careful while filling out your application. I am familiar with the law and would be happy to assist you.  It is important that you properly apply for renewal to ensure that you do not lose your exemption and retain it for 2011.