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The reach of the Illicit Tobacco Taskforce is far and its net wide, there is no place to hide

Established on 1 July 2018, the Illicit Tobacco Taskforce (ITTF) proactively detects, disrupts and dismantles serious organised crime syndicates that deal in illicit tobacco. So far, it has seized more than 262 tonnes of illicit tobacco, with an estimated excise value of more than $270 million.

The ITTF enhances the ability of its partner agencies to protect Commonwealth revenue and draws on the expertise and advanced capabilities of the:

  • Australian Taxation Office (ATO)
  • Australian Border Force (ABF)
  • Department of Home Affairs (Home Affairs)
  • Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC)
  • Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC)
  • Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions (CDPP)
  • law enforcement partners.

Domestically, 41 tonnes of illicit tobacco have been seized and destroyed in four joint operations between the ATO and ITTF, with a potential excise value of $42 million.

One such operation near Katherine in the Northern Territory resulted in the recovery of $13.3 million in potential excise value.  The seizure of 17 acres of illegal tobacco crops and 6 tonnes of tobacco leaf was the first warrant executed by the ITTF, and the first ever tobacco crop seizure in the Northern Territory.

At the border, the ITTF has detected more than 195 million cigarettes and 65 tonnes of loose leaf tobacco, worth over $228 million in evaded duty.

The largest detection was nine tonnes at the Sydney Container Examination Facility. Australian Border Force officers seized over 11.5 million cigarettes, falsely declared as toilet paper. This equated to over $10 million in evaded duty. 

These detections demonstrate how the ITTF partner agencies are working together to stamp out illegal tobacco.

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