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Tobacco: Smuggling

Question for HM Treasury

UIN 64070, tabled on 17 February 2017

To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, what the cost to the public purse of illegal tobacco entering the UK by way of the border with the Republic of Ireland has been in each of the last five years.

Answered on

27 February 2017

Estimates of the volume and total revenue losses associated with the tobacco illicit market are published in ‘Tobacco Tax Gap Estimates 2015 to 2016’. This is available to view at: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/561322/HMRC-tobacco-tax-gap-estimates-2016.pdf.

The estimate is based on comparing tobacco consumed with returns to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) detailing legitimate manufacture, import and an estimate of cross border shopping. It does not distinguish between imported illicit product and that manufactured in the UK.

The estimates provide a national picture of the illicit tobacco market and are not broken down on a regional basis. Therefore, HMRC does not have an estimate of revenue losses attributable to illicit tobacco entering the UK from the Republic of Ireland.

The methodology for producing the estimates are provided in the ‘Measuring Tax Gaps 2016 edition: Methodological Annex’: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/561314/HMRC-measuring-tax-gaps-2016-methodological-annex.pdf.

Answered by

Treasury