A Sheffield shop has been landed with a £777,600 tax bill for selling tobacco on the black market.
The shop in the Lowedges area received the bill as part of a new HM Revenue and Customs crackdown on the sale of tobacco on the black market.
HMRC has sent tax bills to businesses which have repeatedly been caught selling illicit tobacco – either counterfeit or illegally imported without any duty having being paid.
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The bills relate to the amount of tax that should have been paid on the cigarettes they sold.
The Sheffield shop was handed the huge tax bill after investigations revealed illegal income from the sale of illicit tobacco was equal to 89 per cent of the business’ declared turnover.
A total of 51 tax bills totalling £11.5 million have been issued across the country.
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HMRC investigators are examining the frequency and volume of illicit tobacco seizures made, as well as looking at business cash books, till receipts and bank accounts to calculate the tax owed.
Eden Noblett, Assistant Director of HMRC’s Fraud Investigation Service said: “Honest, hardworking shopkeepers are suffering from being undercut by tax cheats. That simply isn’t fair and we are determined to level the playing field.
“Everyone should pay what they owe, when they owe it. If we have to come and get it from you, expect to pay far more in penalties and interest. No business should prosper by ignoring the rules.
“We constantly look to change and refine how we tackle tax cheats. As they change and develop, so will we.
“We work closely with other law enforcement agencies to crack down on the illicit tobacco market which starves the UK of money which should be used to fund our vital public services.”
Call the Fraud Hotline on 0800 788 887 to report those involved in the sale of black market tobacco.