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HMRC internal manual

Tobacco Products Duty

National Advice Service Enquiries - Importing cigarettes: price for duty purposes

Entrepreneurs frequently enquire about importing cigarettes into the UK and wish to knowhow the duty will be calculated. There are two components to the excise duty oncigarettes:

  • a specific element, being a rate per 1000 cigarettes; plus
  • an ad valorem element, being a percentage of the retail price.

The retail price (on which the ad valorem element is calculated) is usually therecommended Retail Selling Price (RSP) in the importer’s price list. (The use of anyother retail price, for duty purposes, must be agreed by the Tobacco Team)

If the brand is new to the UK market (ie is not currently on sale within the UK), theimporter is free to recommend a RSP. In such a case he must provide a copy of his currentprice list or other evidence of the price, which he recommends. Sometimes a potentialimporter may find an alternative source for a brand that is already sold within the UK. Inthat case the retail price, on which the ad valorem element of the duty will becalculated, will be that already set by the established importer.