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HMRC internal manual

Tobacco Products Duty

Products dutied by weight: Cigar weighing: imported cigars

(See also section TPD19000, which contains advice for Officers dealing with imported tobacco products.)

Imported cigars pose a potentially more difficult problem than UK manufactured cigars. This is because they are invariably already packaged and cased before they arrive in the registered store. You should, however, seek to agree a system that gives results which are as accurate as those for the UK manufactured cigars. The fewer the brands and the lesser the quantity involved, the easier this will be. You must seek to ensure equity of treatment between the UK manufacturers and also between the UK manufacturers who import cigars and other importers of cigars.

In the case of machine made cigars the trader may wish to use the invoiced net weights as the basis for duty calculation. This is acceptable provided that you are satisfied with the trader’s test weighing procedures. You may also agree standard tare weights for different cases for particular brands. Such ‘standard tares’ should be agreed for 6 or 12 month periods and be subject to periodic review.

You should, when agreeing weighing procedures for imported cigars, consider the effects of variations in packaging, the time in storage, or changes in the tobacco blends or target weights for particular brands, of which you may be unaware.

Hand-made cigars will show greater variations in individual net weights than machine-made cigars. This is the main difference between hand-made and machine-made cigars, which you should bear in mind when considering the relative risks to the revenue.