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Fines Raised for Failure to Declare Tobacco and Alcohol Exceeding Duty-free Concessions

The Ministry of Finance (MOF) has amended Article 45 Paragraph 1 Subsection 3 of Directions for the Handling of Seizures and Accusation for Tobacco and Alcohol-Related Products on October 5th, 2020, to prevent inbound passengers from failing to declare tobacco or alcoholic beverages in excess of duty-free concessions.

According to Article 45 of the Tobacco and Alcohol Administration Act, when an inbound passenger carries excess tobacco or alcoholic beverages and fails to declare to the Customs, the excess quantities shall be confiscated. Besides, the violator shall be liable to a fine of not less than NT$ 500 and not more than NT$ 5,000 based on the types of the goods. For example, the penalty for excess cigarettes is currently NT$ 500 for every 200 cigarettes. However, since the tobacco tax increase in 2017, the discrepancy in tobacco prices before and after tax creates a lucrative incentive to smuggle. Some inbound passengers take chances sneaking in excess cigarettes because the penalty is nearly equal to the tax. Therefore, to deter smuggling, MOF has made a decision to raise the fines as follows:

1. NT$ 1,000 for every 200 cigarettes

2. NT$ 500 for every 25 non-leaf-rolled cigars and NT$ 4,000 for every 25 rolled cigars

3. NT$ 500 for each liter of alcoholic beverages less than or equal to 10% alc./vol. and NT$ 2,000 for each liter of those over 10% alc./vol.

4. NT$ 3,000 for each pound of cut tobacco

Kaohsiung Customs further explained, non-leaf-rolled cigars look like cigarettes but cost only one tenth as much as rolled cigars. Hence, the amendment increases a lower level of fine for this new type of cigars. Similarly, the standard scale of fines is also revised to distinguish the penalties for the excess alcoholic products higher and lower than 10% alc./vol..

The amended scale of fines will come into effect on January 1st, 2021. An individual passenger is limited to carry 5 cartons of cigarettes (1,000 cigarettes), 5 pounds of cut tobacco, or 125 cigars maximum with duty-free concessions listed respectively in the following table. In addition, each passenger is allowed to bring in a maximum of 5 liters of alcoholic products, although only 1 liter is duty-free. Kaohsiung Customs urges inbound passengers to honestly and correctly declare at red line counter when carrying goods exceeding duty-free limits.


Maximum Allowance

Penalty for Failure to

Declare Goods Exceeding

Duty-free Limits

Duty-free Concession

Declaration & Duty Required

Confiscation & Fines

(Either one of the 3 types of tobacco)

1 carton of cigarettes
(200 cigarettes)

4 cartons of cigarettes
(800 cigarettes)

NT$ 1,000 per carton
(every 200 cigarettes)

25 cigars

100 cigars

NT$ 500 for

every 25 non-leaf-rolled cigars

NT$ 4,000 for

every 25 leaf-rolled cigars

1 pound of

cut tobacco

(1 pound=0.453 kg)

4 pounds of

cut tobacco

NT$ 3,000 per pound

Alcoholic Beverages

1 liter

4 liters

10% alc./vol.
NT$ 500 per liter

> 10% alc./vol.
NT$ 2,000 per liter

Issued:Secretariat Release date:2020-12-31 Click times:108