Tobacco Smuggling Strategy Needs More Ambitious Targets

HMRC and The UK Border Force have released a new tobacco smuggling strategy this week; “Tackling illicit tobacco: From leaf to light”.  The new strategy highlights that revenue loss from illegal tobacco stands at £2.1 billion however the Government states its medium term ambition is to “hold the cigarettes illicit market share at or below 10%”.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “The new strategy and continued focus on tobacco smuggling is welcome, but we need to see more ambitious targets to cut the level of non-duty-paid tobacco market instead of just holding it at 10%.  The illicit tobacco market funds criminality, damages legitimate businesses and results in a direct loss to the public purse. Government has made great strides over the last year in renewing its focus to tackle alcohol duty fraud – we need to see the same attention given to the illicit tobacco market.”

The new strategy sets out that HMRC will continue to focus on high level seizures and optimise the impact of penalties, including a review of all existing sanctions for tobacco smuggling.  The report “Tackling illicit tobacco: From leaf to light” is available here.

ACS will be writing to HMRC ministers after the election to offer support for the strategy and calling for more ambitious targets. If you suspect that illicit tobacco sales are occurring in your area, call the Police 101 number or HM Revenue and Customs on 0800 595 000.

This entry was posted by Chris on Fri, 27/03/2015 - 15:14