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HMRC internal manual

Tobacco Products Duty

Manufacture: Destruction of refuse and rejected or returned tobacco product

Any refuse capable of being smoked is potentially dutiable. Refuse in a smokeable condition (eg in the form of rag or damaged cigarettes), which is moved to other registered premises, must be documented and controlled along the lines of duty-suspended removals of finished tobacco products. Ideally all smokeable refuse and rejected or returned tobacco product should be recycled or destroyed on site, although this may be less likely in practice.

Methods of destruction include incineration, grinding to dust or denaturing. It is essential that all product destined for destruction is completely incinerated or rendered totally unsmokeable. Inadequate destruction or denaturing may make it easier to salvage usable material for illicit removal from the premises. It is also important that any fiscal marks are destroyed or obliterated in the destruction process.

Responsibility for destruction of the goods remains with the manufacturer or importer who should agree the method(s) of destruction with you. Destructions are subject to the same official controls and audits as the rest of the manufacturing and storage process. You should, however, bear in mind that there is high risk of abstraction at a commercial incinerator or landfill site.

Destruction authorised for revenue purposes does not absolve traders of any of their legal responsibilities under the ‘Control of Pollution Act 1974’. Any such or similar concerns should be resolved by the trader before the proposed method of destruction is submitted for Customs approval.