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Tobacco importation results released

08 October 2014

The Customs and Immigration Service have released the results of a three-month exercise focusing on passengers importing goods in excess of the duty free allowance - particularly tobacco.

Customs employed two temporary officers to carry out the exercise in response to concerns about the quantity of duty free cigarettes being imported into Jersey.

The results of the exercise 

​Number of passengers challenged​4252
​Number of passengers identified as being over the duty free allowance​304
​Percentage of passengers over the duty free allowance​7%
​Cigarettes seized​40,740 (duty equivalent £9,700)
​Kgs of hand-rolling tobacco seized​14.5 kgs (duty equivalent £4,134)
​Litres of spirits seized​33 litres (duty equivalent £430)
​Duty collected in addition to the above seizures​£5,543
​Potential duty evaded together with the duty collected​£19,807

No cases of commercial tobacco smuggling were discovered and the results of the exercise, when taken together with the results from the permanent officers, have confirmed the view of Customs and Immigration Service officers that commercial tobacco smuggling is not currently a high risk in the Island. The previous view that there is frequent abuse of the tobacco duty free allowance by a small number of passengers was confirmed.

There have continued to be isolated incidents of cigarettes and tobacco being advertised for sale on Facebook and Jersey Insight. These cases have been investigated by officers from the Customs and Immigration Service and the quantities involved have been small. It is an offence to sell duty free goods and incidents will continue to be investigated.

The Customs and Immigration Service Director, Legal Status and Revenue, Steven Le Marquand, said “The three month exercise has confirmed our previous view that commercial tobacco smuggling is not a high risk in the Island and that the Treasury is not losing millions in revenue as a result. Nevertheless a small amount of passengers continue to purchase tobacco in excess of the duty free allowance and officers will continue to take the necessary actions against such individuals. The commitment and efforts of the officers working on this exercise is to be commended."

Spokesman for the Channel Island Tobacco Importers and Manufacturers’ Association, James Filleul, said “We would like to thank Customs for undertaking this exercise to support local traders. The duty free limit needs to be applied in order to keep the right balance between consumer freedom, revenue for the Treasury and fairness for local retailers. Although commercial smuggling doesn’t yet appear to be a widespread issue in Jersey, frequent low-level abuse of the duty free law all builds up to very significant issue for the local market.”​

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