The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) has reiterated its calls to Government to publish details of how retailers can apply for the codes that they will need to comply with the upcoming tobacco track and trace regulations, after HMRC launched a further consultation on the details of the regulations.

Ahead of 20th May 2019, retailers will have to apply to receive both an ‘economic operator identifier code’ for their business and a ‘facility identifier code’ for each of their stores. HMRC has confirmed that there will be no fees associated with the application process for the codes, but there is still a lack of clarity over the time that retailers will be given to apply for the codes.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “HMRC must address the uncertainty over track and track regulations urgently, as problems with the process could lead to retailers not getting their codes in time and not being able to purchase compliant tobacco after the implementation date. These regulations have been being considered for months – leaving everything to the last minute is not acceptable.”

The short consultation outlines the proposed sanctions for not complying with the upcoming tobacco track and trace regulations. Under the proposals, retailers could lose their economic operator identifier code (which covers the whole business, not just the premises) if they have done any of the following:

• sold illicit tobacco on three or more occasions within any 12-month period, and as a result illicit tobacco has been seized;

• failed to rectify their non-compliance after being issued a compliance notice (for example, a retailer has not applied for a code);

• a conviction for selling illicit goods under the customs and excise Acts;

• received a penalty exceeding £10,000 for selling illicit goods within the last 12 months; and

• not used their identifier code in the last 12-months.