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HMRC internal manual

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

Penalty notices: Factor 7 - the number, size and nature of notified seizures. Maximum score 20 points.



Notified seizures are covered in part TOBCSC5000 of this guidance.

In order to arrive at an overall score we will assess firstly the number of seizures and then, taken together, the size and nature of those seizures.



  1. number of seizures:

If, in the 6-month period since the issuing of an initial notice, there have been:


between 1 and 50 notified seizures score up to 5 points
over 50 notified seizures score up to 10 points



  1. size and nature of seizures:



A number of issues need to be considered here – including:

  • profile of the seizures: are they small volumes (such as the predominant seizure size is close to the minimum for notification) or large volumes (such as the predominant size of seizure is approaching container level). If the pattern is one of large seizures then HMRC would score more heavily as it indicates that the smugglers are finding product easy to source;
  • batch codes: is the nature of the product one of large volumes of a limited number of batch codes? Large volumes of single batch codes are indicative of poor supply chain controls and HMRC would score them highly;
  • re-constructed cases: are the seized goods created from product sourced via a number of outlets? This could indicate that the product was not easily available for smuggling and should attract a low score;
  • turnaround time: if the turnaround time from production to interception has been short it indicates that it has been readily available for smuggling and hence should attract a high score. If the product been in circulation for a long time it indicates that it has not been readily available for smuggling and hence it should attract a low score;
  • specified brands, countries and persons (see part 4000 of this guidance): if the seizure includes specified brands, products in the seizure were sourced from a specified country and/or includes specified persons, then this should give weight to a high score.

Score between 0 and 10