New tobacco tax stamp helps to combat supply of illegal cigarettes

Today (23/05/2019), Revenue has announced the introduction of a new tobacco tax stamp for cigarettes and fine cut tobacco for the rolling of cigarettes. The new stamp replaces the current stamp, in existence since 2015, and will be on packets from June 2019 onwards. For a short period of time after June, there may still be some tobacco products for sale with the old tobacco tax stamp as retailers continue to sell existing stock.

The use of the tax stamp is part of Revenue’s wider strategy to combat the supply and sale of illegal cigarettes and improves Revenue’s ability to tackle criminal activity in this area. The presence of the tax stamp on tobacco products reassures consumers that tax is paid on the products they buy, thereby protecting legitimate trade and Exchequer returns.

Commenting on the launch of the new stamp, Ms Emily Swift, head of the Alcohol, Tobacco & Multiples Branch in Revenue’s Large Corporates Division, outlined that

'the tax stamp is fundamental to the collection of Tobacco Products Tax on cigarettes and fine cut tobacco. Improvements in technology facilitated a new stamp design that contains multiple complex security features to guard against counterfeiting and the illicit trade'.

 Ms Swift added that

'the stamp enables the public to distinguish between smuggled product and product upon which duty has been paid. This is important because the vast majority of people are tax compliant and don’t want to support non-compliance and illegal activity. If cigarettes or fine cut tobacco, intended for retail sale in Ireland, do not have a tax stamp affixed to it, the product is liable to seizure by Revenue. The use of innovative technological security features allows us to verify authentic tax stamps and identify counterfeit stamps in ‘real time’ '.

 The tobacco tax stamp is just one element of Revenue’s strategy to target the supply of illicit tobacco products. Last year, Revenue seized over 67 million illicit cigarettes and 2,000 kgs of smoking tobacco with a combined value of over €42m. Revenue will continue to protect legitimate trade through targeting the supply of illicit tobacco products, with a view to disrupting all stages of the supply chain, seizing the illicit products and prosecuting those responsible.

If businesses or members of the public have any information regarding the smuggling or sale of illegal cigarettes or tobacco they should report it. Revenue’s confidential freephone number is 1800 295 295.