Home > Dáil Éireann debate. Question 86 – Illicit trade [Tobacco] [22750/24].

[Oireachtas] Dáil Éireann debate. Question 86 – Illicit trade [Tobacco] [22750/24]. (21 May 2024)

External website: https://www.oireachtas.ie/en/debates/question/2024...

86. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Finance if he will consider increasing fines for tobacco smuggling; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22750/24]

Michael McGrath, Minister for Finance: The Deputy should note that fines for the sale of illicit tobacco are contained in Tobacco Products Tax (TPT) legislation, as set out in Chapter 3 of Part 2 of the Finance Act 2005 (as amended). Sections 78 and 78A of the Act ,  that, without prejudice to any other penalty, any person convicted of an offence in relation to the illegal selling of unstamped tobacco products or of illicit production, storage or delivery of such products, or for fraudulent use of tax stamps shall be liable to the following sanctions:

• On Summary Conviction – a fine of €5,000 or a term of imprisonment not exceeding 12 months, or both.

• On Conviction on Indictment – a fine not exceeding €126,970 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 5 years, or both.

Fines for summary offences are now set at the maximum level that may be applied in accordance with the District Court Guidelines. Following a review in 2010, fines for indictable level offences were increased tenfold from €12,695 to €126,970. Where the value of the excisable products concerned is greater than €250,000, then a fine not exceeding three times the value of the excisable products concerned could be imposed. The discretion of the court to impose a fine and/or term of imprisonment not exceeding 5 years was retained. The amendment sought to ensure that the fines which may be imposed better reflected the seriousness of the offences involved and served as an effective deterrent.

Further sanctions are set out in General Excise law. Section 119 of the Finance Act 2001, as amended, sets out additional penalties for tobacco smuggling. Where the value of the goods concerned is greater than €250,000, including any taxes chargeable thereon, an amount not exceeding three times their value may be imposed and/or a prison sentence of up to 5 years.

Government has ensured through the Finance Acts over the years that Revenue has the relevant statutory powers to tackle the illicit trade. I know that Revenue is aware of the threat that tobacco smuggling poses to health, to legitimate business interests and to the Exchequer and I commend the relevant State agencies for their work in this area.

Finally, in relation to an increase in fines, the position will be kept under review. It should also be noted that I am open to considering proposals from Revenue that will address new or emerging risks, which cannot be addressed through the current and significant legislative framework in place in regard to tobacco smuggling.

Item Type
Dail Debates
Publication Type
Drug Type
Tobacco / Nicotine
Intervention Type
Crime prevention
21 May 2024

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