Home > Dail Eireann debate. Written answer 252 - Illicit trade in tobacco [12171/15].

[Oireachtas] Dail Eireann debate. Written answer 252 - Illicit trade in tobacco [12171/15]. (24 Mar 2015)

252. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Finance if his Department has made any estimate of the cost to the Exchequer and the health budget of the importation and sale of illegal cigarettes into Ireland, allegedly from major American and Chinese companies, for the past three decades. [12171/15]


Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): The Deputy will appreciate that estimating the scale of any illegal activity, and the tax losses to which it gives rise, is difficult and that estimates of such losses need to be viewed with caution.


I am advised by the Revenue Commissioners that the extent of the illegal trade in cigarettes is estimated through annual surveys of smokers that are carried out for them and for the National Tobacco Control Office of the Health Services Executive by Ipsos MRBI. Assuming that the illicit cigarettes consumed displaced the equivalent full tax paid quantities of cigarettes, the results of these surveys suggest that the losses to the Exchequer in excise duty and VAT were of the order of €210 million in 2013.  This figure represents a significant reduction on the estimates for the years 2009 to 2012 where the estimate of losses were between €240 and €260.  The figures for 2014 are not yet available.   


Matters relating to the health costs associated with tobacco consumption are the responsibility of my colleague the Minister for Health.

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