The challenge of illicit tobacco in Australia

Talking with a newsagent the other day I was surprised at the extent of illicit tobacco products available at retail, impacting sales of those with legal tobacco products.

I mentioned this to someone outside our channel but who has tobacco products and they said the illicit route was the only way to make money. Hmm…

The ATO provides a pathway for reporting illicit tobacco: making a tip off.

How to report

It only takes a few minutes to make a tip-off and you can remain anonymous. If you know or suspect phoenix, tax evasion or shadow economy activity report it by:

If you prefer to speak to us in a language other than English, phone the Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS) on 13 14 50 for help with your call.

Tax professionals can provide information by calling 13 72 86 (Fast Key Code 3 4).

Remember to make note of the reference number when you submit your tip-off form. You will need to quote it if you want to add any information later. You can make a tip-off in other languages.

There is also this infographic at the ATO website:

I understand the frustration some feel at time spent making reports like these. The thing is, the more reports the greater the engagement by those in a position to enforce. That’s got to be the hope at least.

Footnote: I haven’t sold tobacco products in my shops since 1997 when we quit cigarettes too create a more family-focussed shop.

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