Thursday, 10 May 2012

Beginning Of The End For Duty Free?

Just the other day, Nanny Beeb were asking if the airport experience has "become horrible". The answer is obviously yes, but it's not like tax-funded lobbyists couldn't make it worse with a bit of effort.

As hinted at here in February, I see from the Australian Taxpayers' Alliance that their government are well on their way to wiping out duty free tobacco for travellers in the latest budget.
As part of its reforms, the Government increased the excise on tobacco products by 25 per cent, and will reduce the duty free allowance on tobacco to 50 cigarettes or 50 grams of other tobacco product.
A couple of packs or a large pouch of baccy. That's it.

Doubtless the tobacco control industry will once again say this doesn't represent any kind of precedent, but commenters to this article in April didn't seem to think so. The very whisper of a rule no-one had even considered in their everyday lives before instantly brings the spiteful out of the woodwork to apply it elsewhere. Alcohol featured prominently.

There really is nothing that those paid to impose their personal preferences on others will view as not being a target for making grey and mundane.

And in politicians worldwide devoted to ripping every penny the public earns in feeding the bloated monkey of profligate government, they have perfect allies. Yours is not to enjoy life or find joy in the odd perk, it is only to serve the state machine and live as long as possible to pay even more taxes.

You didn't really want that Toblerone anyway, did you?


Lfb_uk said...

Ultimately, all they are doing is hastening their own demise. More and more people will choose to ignore, then blatantly flout these so called laws. Then all those in office have is force, once that starts all bets are off!

truckerlyn said...

However, this is DUTY FREE products.  It does not affect EU tax paid products, so it is still legal to buy as much tobacco and booze as you can carry, so long as it is for personal use or gifts (which does not include 200 cigs or a bottle of booze for the friend looking after your house or dog).  It is also cheaper to buy in an EU country and pay EU tax than it is to buy at the airport duty free shop!

As we were about to fly out to Majorca last October there was a panic amongst smokers in the smoking area at East Midlands because the duty free allowance had been reduced and most thought this also meant what they could buy in Spain or other EU countries.  We went to the duty free shop and obtained an up to date copy (Oct 2011) of the guidance leaflet which quite plainly stated we could still bring back as much as we wanted for our own use or gifts (as above).

Happy days!  Or can they, within EU law, stop us from doing that in the future?

Mudplugger said...

Ripping off those rose-coloured spectacles, the UK Customs chooses to disregard EU rules and imposes a set of its own guidelines of what it considers 'reasonable' for someone to bring in (tax-paid, remember) for their own consumption.

Should any of us 'EU citizens' have the effrontery to exceed that 'guideline', UK Customs will seize any excess, unless and until you can prove, to their satisfaction, that you have no intention of trading the product.  And how do you prove a negative ?

Still feel like a happy European ?

Carpe Zytha said...

There has always been limits on what you can bring in duty free. Since the formation of the EU from the common market, duty free was abolished for EU travel but the single market allows you to bring in as much duty paid as you like for your own use. So long as duty is paid in an EU country. The fags bought in the EU are duty paid at the lower duty rates of the country in question. Attempts to set a limit have tried and failed when challenged in the EU courts.

Johnnydub said...

I think MHRC have an unofficial limit for EU tobacco purchases of 3200 fags...

Although as is implicit HMRC seem to think they can make the rules up as they go along..

P T Barnum said...

Anyone looking for thoroughly researched and tested advice on dealing with UKBA and their made-up reasonable limits on EU duty-paid purchases should check out Smoking Hot's blog, Nothng to Declare (N2D). Following their methods (all legal), bringing in 7kg of baccy is really quite straighforward.

truckerlyn said...

Mudplugger, yes the UKBA do try it on and they usually prey on those who appear to be the most vulnerable, those they can bully into giving up their perfectly legal purchases - some have even had their purchases taken from them when they were well within the guidelines.

The answer is to be well prepared.  The main ammunition in our arsenal is an up to date copy of the Duty Free booklet explaining what you can legally bring back from overseas.

I would recommend you check out Nothing2Declare website where there is a wealth of information on how to deal with the UKBA should you be stopped.

My last bit of advice is, whether or not you brining in tobacco products for your own use or others, keep what you buy to no more than 2 different brands.  It is a little too obvious if you are bringing in a few Embassy, a few Silk Cut, a few Lambert and Butler, etc.  We also buy the EU brands that are not found in the UK, which makes it less likely that we are selling them, which we are not, we have enough trouble with baggage weights to bring in enough for ourselves, but we manage it.

Hope this helps.  Don't allow yourself to be bullied by these pathetic, jobsworth little hitlers.

truckerlyn said...

See reply to Mudplugger, above, Johnnydub.  Be prepared and you can actually scare them off as well as royally piss them off and boy, does it feel good!

When we were stopped by an overzealous lout I ended up just walking out and leaving my husband to deal with him - we kept all 75 cartons of cigs we had bought in Majorca - he could not legally touch them and he knew that we knew that!