There are three main types of duty fraud :
- dutiable goods manufactured in the UK;
- dutiable goods acquired from the EU; and
- dutiable goods imported from elsewhere.
These regimes are subject to different regulations as to whether or not duty is chargeable and, if so, how much. The most widespread duty fraud is commonly known as diversion fraud, involving excise duty on alcohol and tobacco products and there are two types–outward excise diversion frauds and inward diversion frauds.
Figures published by HMCE in their Annual Report for 2002-3 reveal the scale of the revenue losses arising from excise duty frauds. Alcohol frauds resulted in £650 million duty evaded in 2001-02, with a similar figure lost from oils fraud, whilst tobacco frauds produced a massive £3 billion in evaded duty. Customs has introduced several strategies to tackle and disrupt these frauds, but these products will continue to attract fraudsters whilst UK excise duty rates remain so high in comparison to those in other EU states.
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