Over 20% of Cigarettes in Belgium Un-taxed: Study

Over 20% of Cigarettes in Belgium Un-taxed: Study
A new study shows over 20% of cigarettes in Belgium escape taxation, causing approximately €700 million in lost revenue.

Source: Paolo

According to a new study conducted by Cimabel, the Belgian-Luxembourg cigarette manufacturer association, as reported by the Brussels Times, over one-fifth of cigarettes in Belgium are untaxed.

A study conducted on the collection of discarded cigarette packs and butts between April 18 and May 9 found that 21.8% of cigarettes evaded Belgian tax authorities, resulting in a tax revenue loss of approximately €700 million ($699.69 billion).

In untaxed cigarettes, 1.9% are counterfeit, while the remaining 19.9% are legally imported from countries with lower tax burdens. More than half (51.8%) of cigarettes purchased outside of Belgium come from Bulgaria, followed by Poland (7.8%), Turkey (6.88%), and Romania (3.67%).

In a bi-annual survey conducted on Cimabel in October 2021, the percentage of untaxed cigarettes was found to be 13.8%. The organization attributes the increase in tax evasion tobacco products to the significant tax increase introduced on April 1, 2022, which has encouraged smokers to seek out cheaper ways to purchase cigarettes.

Cimabel urges the Belgian government not to further increase tobacco taxes.

The federation warns that if the federal government continues to significantly increase the consumption tax on tobacco products each year, the demand for cheap cigarettes will continue to grow, and criminal organizations will continue to engage in illegal activities within Belgium.


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