Transported 3,000 smuggled packs of cigarettes by car

About 3,000 packs of smuggled cigarettes were transported in his car by a citizen detained in the Kilkis area.

After coordinated police action, 2,980 packs of cigarettes were found in the car driven by the perpetrator, for which legal taxes and fees were not paid. As it turned out, smuggled cigarettes were obtained earlier from an unlicensed border point, where they were illegally imported.

The cigarettes have been confiscated and will be sent to the competent customs authorities to determine the amount of unpaid taxes and duties. The detainee was taken to the Prosecutor’s Office of Kilkis.

As Russian Athens wrote earlier, a common myth is that Greece has cheap cigarettes compared to northern Europe. The reality, however, is that the critical parameter is not the retail price, which is always linked to consumers’ disposable income. The decisive factor is the amount of taxes in relation to the retail price, and here the picture changes radically.

The tax burden in Greece is 85% of the price and is one of the highest excise taxes in all of Europe. Although, of course, the excessive increase in the last decade was one of the main factors in the “violent flourishing” of smuggling on this basis.

In particular, since 2010, the tax burden on the retail price of cigarettes, after 10 consecutive tax changes, the last of which occurred in January 2017, has reached 85% from 73% in 2009. Accordingly, the average price of a pack of cigarettes on the market from 3 euros in 2009 has now reached 4.18 euros, an increase of about 40%, while household disposable income was diametrically opposed.

Smuggling
The Tax Foundation’s comparative study of cigarette taxes in Europe exposes the problem again. As you know, there is a minimum excise tax threshold for a package, which is 1.80 euros. But most governments have introduced much higher taxes, either for financial or containment reasons (public health policy).

Ireland and France have the highest ΕΦΚ per package (8.42 euros and 6.61 euros respectively), while the average ΕΦΚ in Europe is 3.34 euros. Greece, with ΕΦΚ of 2.74 euros, is in 14th place, but that doesn’t say much, because there is a small… detail: the “flourishing” of smuggling.

In addition to VAT, cigarettes are also subject to excise tax, according to a study by the Tax Foundation, causing the total amount per pack to skyrocket to 89.8%, which is the figure for Finland.

Greece, with a final tax rate of 85% on tobacco products, is among the countries burdened with taxes, which creates an expanded “field of activity” for smugglers. The study itself cites KPMG, according to which there were 34.2 billion smuggled cigarettes in the European market in 2020, representing 7.8% of total tobacco consumption. This resulted in a loss of €8.5 billion of related tax revenue.

What are the relative “indicators” of Greece? The country lost the first place to France, where the share of contraband cigarettes is estimated at 22.4% of the total, and the loss of income is 550 million euros.

In Greece, the number of counterfeit cigarettes has increased significantly, to 1.62 billion in 2020 from 1.51 billion in 2019. For the first time, they surpassed the category of illicit “white cigarettes”, that is, those that are legally produced but smuggled into other countries. The consumption of this second category in Greece was 1.20 billion cigarettes in 2020, compared to 1.66 billion in 2019.

The findings of the checks carried out in recent months are also worrisome, as they show that Greece is no longer a transit hub, a station on international smuggling routes, but illegal businesses are being set up in the country that “manufacture” illegal tobacco products.

The tax burden in Greece is 85% of the price and is one of the highest excise taxes in all of Europe. Although, of course, the excessive increase in the last decade was one of the main factors in the “violent flourishing” of smuggling on this basis.

In particular, since 2010, the tax burden on the retail price of cigarettes, after 10 consecutive tax changes, the last of which occurred in January 2017, has reached 85% from 73% in 2009. Accordingly, the average price of a pack of cigarettes on the market from 3 euros in 2009 has now reached 4.18 euros, an increase of about 40%, while household disposable income was diametrically opposed.

Smuggling
The Tax Foundation’s comparative study of cigarette taxes in Europe exposes the problem again. As you know, there is a minimum excise tax threshold for a package, which is 1.80 euros. But most governments have introduced much higher taxes, either for financial or containment reasons (public health policy).

Ireland and France have the highest ΕΦΚ per package (8.42 euros and 6.61 euros respectively), while the average ΕΦΚ in Europe is 3.34 euros. Greece, with ΕΦΚ of 2.74 euros, is in 14th place, but that doesn’t say much, because there is a small… detail: the “flourishing” of smuggling.

In addition to VAT, cigarettes are also subject to excise tax, according to a study by the Tax Foundation, causing the total amount per pack to skyrocket to 89.8%, which is the figure for Finland.

Greece, with a final tax rate of 85% on tobacco products, is among the countries burdened with taxes, which creates an expanded “field of activity” for smugglers. The study itself cites KPMG, according to which there were 34.2 billion smuggled cigarettes in the European market in 2020, representing 7.8% of total tobacco consumption. This resulted in a loss of €8.5 billion of related tax revenue.

What are the relative “indicators” of Greece? The country lost the first place to France, where the share of contraband cigarettes is estimated at 22.4% of the total, and the loss of income is 550 million euros.

In Greece, the number of counterfeit cigarettes has increased significantly, to 1.62 billion in 2020 from 1.51 billion in 2019. For the first time, they surpassed the category of illicit “white cigarettes”, that is, those that are legally produced but smuggled into other countries. The consumption of this second category in Greece was 1.20 billion cigarettes in 2020, compared to 1.66 billion in 2019.

The findings of the checks carried out in recent months are also worrisome, as they show that Greece is no longer a transit hub, a station on international smuggling routes, but illegal businesses are being set up in the country that “manufacture” illegal tobacco products.

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