New sanctions for not following Track and Trace requirements for selling tobacco have come into effect.
Introduced by HMRC and monitored by Trading Standards teams, the new penalties are designed to tackle the illicit trade damaging the UK.
What are the penalties?
Failure to meet the requirements of tobacco track and trace may mean:
· a penalty of up to £10,000 for holding products that do not meet the rules
· the seizure and potential destruction of tobacco products
· the deactivation of your economic operator ID, temporarily or permanently, where you persistently break the rules, restricting or removing your ability to purchase or sell tobacco in the UK
The financial penalty amount will depend on whether this is a first or repeat offence and on the quantity of cigarettes or hand rolling tobacco held and found in breach of the tobacco track and trace rules.
For a first offence, financial penalties can be applied up to:
· £2,500, where less than 100 packs are held
· £5,000, where 100 to 299 packs are held
· £7,500, where 300 to 499 packs are held
· £10,000, where 500 or more packs are held
For a second offence, financial penalties can be applied up to:
· £5,000, where less than 100 packs are held
· £7,500, where 100 to 299 packs are held
· £10,000, where 300 or more packs are held
For further offences, financial penalties can be applied up to:
· £7,500, where less than 100 packs are held
· £10,000, where 100 or more packs are held
From a second offence onwards, HMRC may:
· seize and potentially destroy any tobacco products
· consider the temporary or permanent deactivation of an economic operator ID
Commenting on the new penalties, Association of Convenience Stores chief executive James Lowman said: “The track and trace system is essential in tracking legitimate products through the supply chain and we strongly welcome the new measures which have been developed to tackle the illicit market.
“The illicit tobacco trade is extremely dangerous and is detrimental to responsible retailers and to our local communities. It is important that these new sanctions are backed up by proper local enforcement to ensure that illicit products are removed from the shelves and to deter criminal activity.”