HC Deb 07 October 2003 vol 411 c9W
Mr. Dobson:

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the limits are on the importation of cigarettes into Britain by individuals who have bought them within the European Union (a)paying the duty levied in the country of purchase and (b)from a duty-free outlet. [132147]

John Healey:

Since the introduction of the Single Market in 1993, travellers making journeys within the EU have been able to bring back as many duty and tax paid cigarettes as they like, providing they are for their own use. Cigarettes may not be brought into the UK for any form of sale or reimbursement without payment of UK taxes. There are no limits on importations of this kind.

Travellers bringing back excise goods into the UK may be required to explain to Customs the purposes for which they are holding those goods. EU agreements establish guidelines to help Member States determine whether goods are imported for 'own use' or for commercial purposes, including provision for a minimum indicative level of 800 cigarettes. The UK applies an indicative level of 3200 cigarettes, which is one of the factors Customs will use in assessing travellers' explanations of the purposes for which they are holding excise goods.

On 1 July 1999, duty and VAT-free sales of goods to intra-EU travellers were abolished, and travellers cannot now make duty-free purchases when travelling between EU Member States.