Tobacco Smuggling-building on our successes: A renewed strategy
for HM Revenue and Customs and the UK Border Agency
was published in April 2011. Within the joint strategy, HMRC has
overall responsibility for delivery, while Border Force is responsible
for the seizure of illicit tobacco at the border.
· HMRC estimates
that in 2012-13, duty was not paid on around 9% of cigarettes
and around 36% of all hand-rolling tobacco smoked in the UK, with
associated revenue losses of approximately £2 billion.
· The National
Audit Office's June 2013 review, Progress in Tackling Tobacco
Smuggling, concluded that HMRC's strategy was logical and
set out a wide range of complementary measures to tackle the problem,
but that HMRC's approach to deterring and disrupting the distribution
of illicit tobacco within the UK was not effectively integrated.
· John Vine CBE
QPM, the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration
scrutinised Border Force freight operations between March and
July 2013. He concluded that there had been a breakdown in communication
between Border Force and HMRC at an operational level.
· HMRC and Border
Force are currently "refreshing" the Joint Tobacco Strategy,
taking into account the change in risk and modus operandi
of smugglings, along with lessons learned from the current strategy.
· In the Government's
2012 consultation on standardised or 'plain' packaging of tobacco
products, opinion was almost equally divided on whether standardised
packaging would increase the supply of, or demand for, illicit
tobacco. HMRC's assessment is that plain packaging is not going
to create any new risks for its operations, but it could well
change the profile of the illicit market.
· The revised
European Tobacco Products Directive governing the manufacture,
presentation and sale of tobacco and related products was adopted
in February 2014. It introduces an EU-wide tracking and tracing
system for the legal supply chain and visible and invisible security