Finweek English Edition - - In Brief -

In the last three months, il­licit cig­a­rettes have grown its mar­ket share from 33% of the lo­cal cig­a­rette mar­ket to 42%, ac­cord­ing to Ip­sos’ To­bacco Mar­ket Study that was re­leased re­cently. In a state­ment, the To­bacco In­sti­tute of South­ern Africa (Tisa) ex­plained that a packet of cig­a­rettes sell­ing be­low R17.85 can be seen as il­licit, as that is the amount due to the South African Rev­enue Ser­vice (Sars). Ac­cord­ing to the report, Gold Leaf To­bacco’s RG cig­a­rette brand, which sells at R10 per packet and is there­fore deemed il­licit, is cur­rently the top-sell­ing brand in the coun­try. Ac­cord­ing to Tisa, tax eva­sion on these to­bacco prod­ucts re­sults in Sars los­ing out on R8bn in rev­enue. “In­creas­ing taxes is easy, but not a so­lu­tion,” Tisa chair­per­son Fran­cois van der Merwe said. “Rather, col­lect­ing taxes from those choos­ing not to pay is the best place to start.”

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