Track and trace: HMRC issues tobacco products guidance

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HMRC has published information about how the forthcoming ‘track and trace’ regulations will affect retailers selling and storing tobacco products.

The new legislation comes into force on 20 May 2019.

This is the first information that HMRC has made public about how retailers will be required to comply with the regulations. The guidance also includes information for wholesalers which covers recording sales, scanning tobacco products and aggregating unit packs.

From 20 May, tobacco manufacturers must provide unique identifier codes on cigarette and hand-rolling tobacco products and track these products through the supply chain. Tobacco traders will be required to have an Economic Operator Identifier Code (registered to their business) and a Facility Identifier Code (for each store or premises which stores tobacco) to purchase cigarettes and hand-rolling tobacco.

To obtain the two codes, retailers must apply to a government-appointed ID issuer before 20 May. Unfortunately, as HMRC hasn’t completed its appointment of the ID Issuer, how or when retailers can apply remains a mystery.