HMRC has launched a further consultation on the secondary legislation required to implement track and trace, and security features for cigarettes and hand-rolling tobacco from 20 May 2019.

The short consultation outlines the proposed sanctions for not complying with the upcoming tobacco track and trace regulations. Under the proposals, retailers could lose their economic operator identifier code if they have done any of the following:

  • sold illicit tobacco on three or more occasions within any 12-month period, and as a result illicit tobacco has been seized
  • failed to rectify their non-compliance after being issued a compliance notice (for example, a retailer has not applied for a code)
  • a conviction for selling illicit goods under the customs and excise Acts
  • received a penalty exceeding £10,000 for selling illicit goods within the last 12 months
  • not used their identifier code in the last 12-months

Ahead of 20 May, retailers will have to apply to receive both an economic operator identifier code for their business and a facility identifier code for each premises used to sell and store tobacco products.

HMRC has not yet informed when the retailers can apply for the codes, but confirmed that there will be no fees associated with the application.

Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) has reiterated its calls for clarity on the application process.

“HMRC must address the uncertainty over track and track regulations urgently, as problems with the process could lead to retailers not getting their codes in time and not being able to purchase compliant tobacco after the implementation date,” said James Lowman, chief executive of the ACS.

“These regulations have been being considered for months – leaving everything to the last minute is not acceptable,” he added.