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HMRC internal manual

Tobacco Products Manufacturing Machinery Licensing Scheme

Fit and proper criteria

Before taking a decision to grant a licence you must be satisfied that the main criteria is met:

  • there is no evidence of illicit trading indicating the business is a serious threat to revenue (assessments, seizures, penalties and so on)
  • key persons involved in the business (directors, beneficiaries, other guiding minds) have not been previously involved in significant revenue non-compliance, or fraud, either within excise or other regimes
  • there are no connections between the businesses, or key persons involved in the

business, with other known non-compliant or fraudulent businesses

  • key persons involved in the business have no criminal convictions which are relevant, for example, offences involving any dishonesty or links to organised criminal activity - we will normally disregard convictions that are spent provided there are no wider indications that the person in question continues to pose a serious threat to the revenue (an ‘unspent’ conviction is one that has not expired under the terms of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974)
  • the application is accurate and complete and there has been no attempt to deceive
  • there has not been negligent or persistent failures to comply with any HMRC recordkeeping requirements
  • the applicant, or key persons in the business, have not previously attempted to avoid gaining a licence and carried out regulated tobacco activities without one
  • the business has provided sufficient evidence of its commercial viability and/or credibility
  • there are no outstanding, unmanaged HMRC debts or a history of poor payment
  • The business has in place satisfactory due diligence procedures to protect it from trading in illicit supply-chains.


Whilst you should take all the above criteria into account, they are not exhaustive