HM Revenue and Customs has confirmed that small retailers will be able to start applying for tobacco track and trace codes from 30 April, just three weeks before the introduction of the regulations on May 20.

The regulations require retailers to have an Economic Operator Identifier Code (registered to their business) and a Facility Identifier Code (for each store or premises which stores tobacco) in order to purchase compliant cigarettes and hand-rolling tobacco products from 20 May 2019. To obtain the codes, retailers must apply to the government appointed ID issuer, De La Rue, before 20 May 2019.

There will be a phased opening to the application process, depending on the size of retailer:

• 23 April – Pre-registration process opens for larger retailers

• 30 April – Pre-registration process opens for all retailers

• 10 May – Retailers will receive their codes

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “We have been frustrated with the lack of information and frequent delays to the process for retailers being able to apply for codes. Three weeks is not a long time for thousands of small shops to comply with the regulations, especially if there are problems with the system and confusion around the application process. We will do all we can to provide retailers with the information and advice that they need to be able to apply for and receive their codes without any further delays.”

ACS has put together a list of frequently asked questions on the Track and Trace regulations, which is available at