New crackdown on illicit tobacco and alcohol
HMRC has launched a new initiative to tackle some of the UK’s most notorious hotspots for the sale and supply of illicit tobacco and alcohol as part of its overall remit to tackle tax fraud. HMRC officers will lead new enforcement operations in high risk areas across the UK.
The initiative will see HMRC officers carrying out checks on shops, warehouses, self-storage sites, businesses and workplaces suspected of being used to sell, store, supply or distribute illicit tobacco and alcohol. Owners of premises where illicit goods are found face seizure of goods, fines, and a possible prosecution.
Jennie Granger, HMRC’s Director General of Enforcement and Compliance, said:
‘This HMRC-led activity will bring together specialists from across a range of law enforcement agencies to identify and tackle the problem of illegal tobacco and alcohol in our communities targeting areas we know are hotspots of illicit activity.’
The new hotspot activity will take place during this year and next year. The targeting of specific businesses is not an amnesty and unlike some initiatives which sought to tempt taxpayers to come forward under favourable terms there is no formal disclosure facility on offer. HMRC inspectors will therefore have the full range of civil and criminal sanctions at their disposal.