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HMRC internal manual

Tobacco: Anti-smuggling or the duty to avoid facilitating smuggling

Penalty notices: Factor 1 - The nature and extent of the breach of duty not to facilitate smuggling. Maximum score 25 points.



The duty and obligations of tobacco manufacturers are set out in section TOBCSC3100 of this guidance. You will need to consider whether the tobacco manufacturer has:


  1. supplied tobacco products to persons likely to smuggle them into the UK;
  2. supplied tobacco products where the nature or circumstances of the supply make it likely that the products will be smuggled into the UK;
  3. in any other way facilitated smuggling of tobacco products into the UK.

Here, ‘nature’ and ‘extent’ should be considered jointly and given a single score. If a manufacturer has made supplies to persons known to be involved in the smuggling of tobacco products this should score highly as should any supplies to customers who are known to make onward supplies to smugglers, or whose product is regularly found in seizures. We also need to consider whether the tobacco manufacturer can demonstrate that the volume of tobacco products supplied is commensurate with the legitimate demand in that country (including legitimate cross border shopping requirements), and any other actions that have created conditions conducive to smuggling.

Where there is no breach of duty, or a breach of duty for which a tobacco manufacturer has demonstrated he has a reasonable excuse, no points should be applied and a penalty should not be issued. A score of 25 would indicate a gross and blatant breach of duty.