Over the years we've been here we've gained a reputation for honesty and integrity ... sadly you can't say that for Border Force and HMRC, who have very little, if any. They went rogue and continue to get worse.
Because we hadn't posted in over a year, Border Force/HMRC decided to have a pop at us .. see here.
Unfortunately for BF/HMRC we haven't gone away ... as a comment said ... The Kraken Wakes!
This time we won't be focussing on Cross Border Shopping but the purchase of Raw Tobacco because that is what they tried to link us too. Not just purchase ... they tried to link us to Fraudulent Excise Duty evasion. Seems they've embraced 'fake news' with a vengeance.
So, we are applying all our resources on the Control of Raw Tobacco ... their current scam ... there is no other word for it. They've targeted the companies (there is just 3) that sell raw tobacco in the UK and the public that buy it. Its a legitimate trade and all 3 companies are operating legitimately.
What about the illegal trade you ask? Well, the most they do is seize any raw tobacco coming into the UK they can get their hands on ... and seize it illegally. lt matters not a jot to them whether the raw tobacco is legit ... they deem it all for illegal use but do sweet f' all to try and trace any illicit factories that are producing counterfeit cigarettes and tobacco. Why? .... because they are too damn lazy or incompetent (perhaps both). Its easier for them to seize the legit trade so they can say 'look, we are doing our job', when , in fact, they are doing nothing of the sort.
How easy would it be to track a shipment to find where an illegal counterfeit factory is? The factory can't easily be moved ... its got machinery, counterfeit labels and packaging, counterfeit stock. FFS a 5 yr old could do it. The factory needs the raw tobacco leaf. We ain't talking a few kilos here... we are talking tonnes. All they have to do is follow the shipment of raw tobacco!
Just one of these shipments would supply the 3 legit companies for a year, perhaps more. Yet to the counterfeit gangs, one shipment is an acceptable loss ... 1 gets seized, 9 get through ... and that goes on throughout the year and will continue to do so! These gangs are already illegal so they ain't going to be adhering to these new regs, are they?
By stopping the legit trade in raw tobacco, BF/HMRC are stopping a microscopical small amount of raw tobacco when compared to the illegal trade. What a frickin joke!
Another thing is the scare tactics used by BF/HMRC. They threaten to come round to your house if you've bought 250 grammes of leaf. Hahahaha ... do me a favour ... they can't be bothered to chase tonnes of leaf so you really think they are going to come round for 250g??? Hahahahaha
So to the scam of supposedly being able to register to trade/purchase raw tobacco leaf.
Guide for Registering for Purchasing Raw Tobacco Pt 1
Firstly, there are no forms or online applications. Ever heard of a government scheme with no forms? ... no neither have l, but this scheme doesn't have them. You have to write in hoping you've got it right. Its a scheme is written so badly it makes me cringe. Mind, seeing as they didn't finish writing it till 3pm on the scheduled day of release then its of little surprise is it?
Anyway, moving on ... this what they ask for in your application:-
1. Contact number, postal address and e-mail address
Can do that but everyone doesn't have an e-mail address. My mum doesn't and she might want to apply.
2. Details of your controlled activities.
This is a strange one because anything is a controlled activity unless there is no leaf but only stalks or stems (see here 4.2). Wearing it on your head? ... controlled activity! ... seriously, according to HMRC it would be ... and any other weird way you could think of.
But lets give some of the more commonly accepted uses apart from manufacturing it into smoking tobacco because if that were the case you'd be approaching this from another direction entirely. The more common uses are snuff, culinary tobacco, e-cig oil, tobacco tea/coffee, fragrance, medical etc
3. Addresses of all the premises from which you intend to carry out controlled activities.
l have to assume they mean your home address ... or your mum's :) That is unless you are wearing the leaf on your head and gone round to your mates ... you'd have to give their address too.
4. The names, addresses and vat numbers of who will be supplying your raw tobacco
Talk about Catch 22. Firstly, you don't have to be VAT registered to supply raw tobacco and secondly how the hell do you know which supplier is registered in this scheme??? Registering applications could only be made from 1st Jan 2017 and they say it takes 45 days! So, at this moment in time there is no company registered that you can say you will be buying from.
I'd put here ... from the EU at the best price l can find. l intend to do this on 1st April 2017 when the scheme is implemented.
5. Whether your supplier is registered in UK?
As in answer 4. Perhaps HMRC could supply a list of UK registered suppliers? ... if they register any that is!
6. The estimated quantity of raw tobacco over a 12 month period you'll be carrying out a controlled activity for
500g, 1 kg, 5kg, 10 kg, 20kg etc etc. Personally l'd go for a low amount and then increase it later if you need. My mum would put 250g :)
7. Name and address
Wow ... something simple
8. Date of birth
Wow ... more simples
Add the statement ... "l declare the information contained in this application is true and complete to the best of my knowledge"
Sign the letter and post it to
Raw Tobacco Approval Scheme
Excise Processing Teams
Sorry, no e-mail address or telephone number supplied by them.
Incidentally, if you are wondering about where is BX9 1GL ... look here
As you can see, it's all a farce BUT lets play the game. N2D will help you put in an application and let's see the results BUT DON'T SEND IT YET. WE HAVE PART 2 COMING ON WED 18TH JAN 2017. WAIT FOR THAT ... YOU'LL LIKE IT :)
We also have a dedicated e-mail address for any questions you have ... email@example.com. All in strict confidence of course.
lf you'd like to put questions to the HMRC Team that put this scheme together ... write to or phone
Wendy Longworth | Tobacco Policy Team03000 587927
Link to HMRC's How to apply for the Raw Tobacco Approval Scheme
Let us know any response you get if you do contact her. You can send it by e-mail or put it in the comments here.
Comments are more than welcome
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