HMRC Consultation on Control of Raw Tobacco ... your chance to ANSWER!

Here is our answers to the HMRC Consultation on the Control of Raw Tobacco. You can either use it as is or edit it if you want to.

Here are the links. We prefer PDF but not all can edit PDF so it is in .doc form too (Word)

Consultation Questions and Answers PDF

Consultation Questions and Answers (Word)

We can't stress strongly enough how important it is to reply to this. HMRC are really expecting no replies other than the usual suspects re Tobacco Control ... ASH and the like. HMRC expect to be able to get these draconian measures through without any objections.

Let's show them we aren't sheep!

Simply download the doc and when you are ready attach it to an e-mail  and send it to:-

tobacco.policy@hmrc.gsi.gov.uk

OR

Post it to:-

Raw Tobacco Consultation
Tobacco Policy Team
HMRC
Ralli Quays,
3 Stanley Street
Manchester
M60 9HL


Don't be worried about sending it.  There are no personal details required. If you want you could even create a new e-mail address just for this.

If you are on the snuff forums, e-cig forums etc etc ... PASS IT ON! GET THE WORD OUT!
If your mates use leaf, no matter how little they use ... then tell them too

We need as many answers as possible. Ok some of you may say it's pointless BUT we have to try!

DO IT!

or rollover and get shafted without a murmur!

Responses to Consultation have to be in by 30th Jan 2015!

FIGHT BACK!

It'll only take you a couple of minutes.


Below is our suggested response












Foreword

Many readers have asked us to suggest a reply to this consultation, as most found it quite daunting; which indeed it is. The questions in our honest opinion are loaded to "agree' with what HMRC propose.

As an end-user respondent, you could alter or delete any of these answers to suit your own circumstances, or you could leave them as they are. We have taken note of our readers' comments, and included most of their points in these answers.

To allay any doubts held by the HMRC Consultation Team, these replies will be from private individual end-users, not companies or businesses. All these answers are to that effect (although private individuals may alter our suggested answers).

HMRC intend to reply to these responses with one standard answer to all. We have the right to do the same, although individuals' answers may differ in detail.



Consultation Questions 

Question 1: Does the proposed definition encompass all forms of raw tobacco, which could be used to manufacture tobacco products? 

As a member of the EU, the UK should make no changes unless the EU Directives and Regulations change. Raw Tobacco is defined as an agricultural product within the EU.

Question 2: Should plants which have not been harvested but are still growing in containers such as pots or bags also be included to prevent an alternative route to evade duty? 

As a member of the EU, the UK should make no changes unless the EU Directives and Regulations change. Raw Tobacco is defined as an agricultural product within the EU.

Question 3: We would very much like to hear from businesses and individuals who use raw tobacco for purposes other than manufacturing tobacco products on which duty is payable, including manufacturers of e-cigarette fluids. It would be extremely helpful to know: 

•  the nature of your usage; 

There are many uses for raw tobacco, other than smoking. This range includes but is not limited to e-cig liquid, whole leaf vapourising, potpourri, insecticide, animal bedding, snuff, cosmetics, alternative medicine, dietary supplements and fragrances.

•   where and in what quantities you currently source raw tobacco, including 

Internet shopping, small quantities for personal use.

 • the approximate quantities used; 

I consider this question intrusive and unacceptable.

how you feel these proposals would impact you; 

I believe that they would seriously violate my Human Rights and my right as an EU citizen to legitimately  purchase an EU defined legal product. HMRC already have powers to investigate individuals should they have a valid reason. These proposals are likely to destroy a legitimate trade and leave me with fewer (or no) suppliers to choose from. The lack of competition will inevitably result in increased prices.

• is there an alternative substance that you could use in place of tobacco? 

No.

Question 4: What are your views on a simplified scheme for low volume users for non-smoking purposes: 

•  Do you think there should be a simplified scheme for low-volume users and if so, why? 

Yes, the current one that exists within the EU Directives and Regulations. These are already adequate if they were implemented properly. Requiring purchasers of a legal product to register is unprecedented.

 • At what level do you believe that the threshold should be set for a low-volume user of raw tobacco for non-smoking purposes? 

There should be no threshold for own use. Any individual purchasing other than for own use would be running a business that would need to be declared to HMRC for tax purposes. 

• How could HMRC ensure that such a scheme was not exploited to avoid Tobacco Products Duty? 

HMRC have access to all VAT records and especially purchases/movements of raw tobacco within the EU, where only VAT registered companies can purchase it from the original suppliers.  I as a private individual cannot. I can do so from outside of the EU, but then it is subjected to import duty etc by HMRC. HMRC can then follow up any enquiry they deem necessary. The data and records are there.

•  Please supply any evidence you have of usage to support your view. 

No. l do not feel comfortable giving anyone access to my personal data and it is not a view but fact.

Question 5: If you would be required to register under this scheme, for which other taxes and duties are you already registered? 

None, I am a private individual, not a business.

Question 6: Paragraph 19 includes factors that will be considered as part of a fit and proper test: 

• What is your view on the suggested factors that would be included in a fit and proper test? 

They are outrageous. It would be seriously contrary to my Human Rights as a citizen of the EU that l could be refused registration merely on someone's unsubstantiated suspicions or any unspent convictions etc. The Hoverspeed ruling (R (Hoverspeed) v C&E Comrs [2002] EWHC 1630) confirmed that it was not up to private individuals to prove their innocence, but for HMRC to prove their guilt.

The criteria HMRC suggest for registration are draconian to say the least. HMRC include in these criteria that they should be satisfied that there are "no risks of duty evasion".  It is clearly impossible to attain such an absolute. Another criteria is that you cannot have any unspent convictions. "any"?  HMRC cannot be serious. 

The remaining criteria are just as bad.

It seems that HMRC do not wish for anyone to have registration. I realize that there will be an appeals/tribunal process but if this is anything like that of the Border Force then one cannot justifiably have any faith in them.

Why are just importers/users of raw tobacco being asked to register to this proposed HMRC scheme when cross-border shoppers who bring back non UK duty paid smoking products are seemingly exempt. ? The cross border shoppers have no limits/threshold set either. All they have is guidelines.

• Are there any additional items you think should be considered as part of 
this fit and proper test? 

None, see previous answer.

Question 7: What record keeping requirements do you consider would be necessary to assure HMRC that raw tobacco is being used for a legitimate purpose, i.e. is not being used to illegally manufacture tobacco products? 

All my purchases are by bankcard and thus show on my bank statements and those of the Internet companies that l purchase from. Nothing else is justifiable, given l am a private individual end user, not a business.

Question 8: Paragraph 25 states that HMRC will establish at the point of importation that raw tobacco is destined for a registered holder. It may therefore be necessary for the carrier or owner of raw tobacco being imported to provide proof of destination at the border. Are there any issues you can identify with this requirement? 

To suggest that my supplier (or others like them) would have to wait until they have enough orders from such as myself before they can import a shipment of fully allocated raw tobacco is ridiculous. I could be waiting months for my order. I am certain that organised crime would welcome your proposal though, as they would not be inconvenienced whereas legitimate businesses would be ruined. 

Question 9: Are there any potential wider consequences of this system that we have not identified here? 

Yes, companies within the UK would either have to close or relocate to another EU country. This would leave a void that organised crime would very quickly fill. Also any private individual could still purchase from other EU Internet companies that have moved and take the small risk of any shipment they purchase being seized. Even if this happens HMRC cannot issue a penalty for duty evaded as raw tobacco will still remain non dutiable.

No doubt Internet companies outside the EU will still operate as usual, with smaller but more frequent shipments. Whether HMRC would be able to intercept all these parcels is very doubtful. Regardless, given the low base price of raw tobacco, those Internet companies will probably just send out a replacement free of charge.

Question 10: Are there any equality issues raised by these proposals, such as a disproportionate impact on any particular group of the population such as ethnic groups or disabled people, for example? 

None l can see.

Question 11: Do you have any views on the potential impact of this scheme on businesses affected, including potential costs and burdens and any suggestions for how these can be kept to a minimum? 

See answer to Question 9. To keep costs and burdens to a minimum l implore you to use the data and records you already have access to. Any irregularities can be easily spotted. Such as 1 tonne going to an ice cream factory! (http://www.bailii.org/uk/cases/UKFTT/TC/2013/TC02964.html)

Question 12: What documentation do you consider it reasonable and necessary for an importer or consignee to provide to prove that a consignment of raw tobacco is destined for a legitimate end use?

HMRC already have access to all VAT records and especially purchases/movement within the EU for raw tobacco where only companies VAT registered can purchase it.  I as a private individual cannot. I can from outside of the EU but then it is subject to import duty etc from HMRC, who can already follow up any enquiry they deem necessary.

Note:- it is impossible to prove that raw tobacco is destined for a legitimate end user. Your legal department will no doubt confirm this, if you cannot see it.

 Question 13: What are your views on broadening the seizure powers, including any issues, potential costs and burdens. Please supply any evidence you have to support your view. 

Border Force are widely considered "unfit for purpose" and in my and many others view justifiably so. I can foresee many problems in giving Border Force extra powers of seizure. 

It is well factually documented that some Border Force officers are over-zealous, bending the rules/regs and sometimes actually lying in order to get a seizure. Giving them extra powers will only allow them to victimise more legitimate private individuals and companies.

See  http://nothing-2-declare.blogspot.co.uk for many factual examples.

Question 14: Are there any potential wider consequences of increasing existing powers that we have not identified here? 

Yes we should always be working towards harmonising with the EU and not creating different rules/regs that will make matters far worse. Your point that 2 countries have created different rules calls for closer scrutiny. Poland has introduced excise duty on raw tobacco in direct contradiction to EU Directives/Regs and is facing a legal challenge. Ireland on the other hand continually introduces everything they can think of regardless of the consequences.

In 2013 Ireland was 3rd (in 2011 it was Bulgaria!) in the table re tobacco duty avoidance (smuggling). The only 2 countries ahead of them were Latvia and Lithuania (Irish Tobacco manufacturers Advisory Committee). Yet, Latvia and Lithuania are actually reducing this tobacco duty avoidance year by year. Ireland is not, and looks odds on for becoming number 1 in the table very soon. Surely it is not the intention of HMRC to compete for this embarrassing position?

Organised crime will be waiting eagerly for proposals such as those in this consultation to come into force. They already operate outside of any regulations HMRC have. All they have to do is increase their trade to fill the gap created by these proposals destroying legitimate businesses.

Question 15: Do you have any alternative proposals for the control of raw tobacco and the prevention of avoidance of Tobacco Products Duty? 

Yes, harmonise with EU, and use the data and records you already have. Do not drive the raw tobacco trade underground into the hands of organised crime.

Work with the public, not against them. Certainly do not suggest that virtually no end users are legitimate, as you have done in this consultation. If private individuals are condemned out of hand then what have they to lose by becoming what you accuse them of?

10 comments:

  1. Thx guys. l'dve never been able to do that. you said it all thx agin.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Sent.Hope it's there on time. Many thanks,
    Jimbo

    ReplyDelete
  3. Any idea of the outcome?

    ReplyDelete
  4. Any idea of the outcome?

    ReplyDelete
  5. "Hoverspeed ruling (R (Hoverspeed) v C&E Comrs [2002] EWHC 1630) confirmed that it was not up to private individuals to prove their innocence, but for HMRC to prove their guilt."

    Although legally correct in the strict sense, I have found to my great cost that Magistrate's Courts (particularly Dover) don't act that way. In there the word of a fat, slimy, lying UKBF/A officer in an ill fitting uniform with shiny buttons as equivalent to The Word of God whispering in their ears. Everything the accused says is ignored as being a tissue of lies.

    Has anyone EVER won a case in Dover MC? I doubt it!

    If we are forced to register will they tattoo a number on our arms? and make us wear a badge when outdoors that signals us as leaf shredders?

    Feck 'em.

    ReplyDelete

"In the eyes of the Tribunal the review letter contained several preconceptions, prejudgments and non-sequiturs"

"the absurdity of this reason is demonstrated by simply stating it"

"We therefore find that Mr Sked misdirected himself as to the Policy in carrying out the review and his decision is therefore one that no reasonable review officer could have arrived at."

... commonly known here at N2D as 'Skeds' ... that is to say these are Judges comments regarding UKBA Review Officer Ian Sked's reasons for rejecting peoples appeals against seizures.

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