Businesses and individuals involved in the sale of illicit tobacco products could face heftier consequences, according to a policy paper published by the UK government this month.
The aim of the policy, set to come into force in the autumn, is to further tackle tobacco duty evasion, with a focus on combatting the small-scale, regular offenders who are actively involved in street-level distribution.
The amendment to the legislation would give HMRC the power to issue financial penalties of up to £10,000 for holding or possessing products that do not comply with TTS requirements, forfeit TTS-compliant tobacco products where they are found alongside non-compliant products, and to revoke a retailer’s TTS ID. It would also extend HMRC’s TTS enforcement powers for use by local Trading Standards officers.
However, some retailers are not convinced the new legislation will prove to be any more effective than the current laws.
Vicky Singh, of Londis in Mitcham, believes the issue is with the high tax on tobacco products.
“The government is not giving retailers any choice. At the moment a pack of Benson Blue costs £10. Some retailers are being pushed to sell illicit products because of the impact the high prices are having on sales,” he said.
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