A little while back the HMRC introduced the Raw Tobacco Scheme, and I as a keen gardener and law abiding citizen duly applied to register with them. Today a charming lady from HMRC gave me a call to discuss my application , despite my saying all communication in writing please but I forgive them.
The call mainly went over my application, why was I registering and such. Having established that I was registering purely as a gardener they wanted to know how many plants I have growing and how many of the annual variety I was planning to plant. When I mentioned growing several non-decorative varieties she was interested as to what size they grew to and what varieties though she’d never heard of Burley. She did then get further perplexed when I informed them that I mainly used the flowers for making wine ( recipe here ) and pesticide. The lady I was speaking to apparently had a small Nicotiana plant of some sort in her kitchen and was interested to know when it was fragrant as I’d mentioned my decorative varieties were also for fragrance, I suspect she obviously has a less fragrant variety.
Moving on from the pleasantries there were the normal verification of the details I’d provided. she also checked the following:
- My ID requesting passport or driving license number
- If it would be ok for someone from the HMRC to inspect my garden
- If I was giving any of the leaves to anyone else
- That it was just prunings and dead plants I was dealing with
- What I’d be putting in the compost and what would be going in the council green bin
So really nothing to out of the ordinary, though as I’d mentioned I make wine from the flowers she did check if that was for personal consumption only. Which I assured her it was though probably just as well I didn’t mention that I bottled 145 gallons of homebrew last year. Really the only surprising thing was that they followed up my application at all and seem to be taking it if not seriously at least with a straight face. I of course immediately popped over to UK Tobacco Plants to make sure that the HMRC will have something to look at if they come round.
So long and short of it if you’ve applied to register the HMRC will be in touch, they will want to verify your ID against an official document, they may ask if it’ll be ok to visit and are going to double check that you’re actually going to do what you said you will in your application. So all in all just tediously bureaucratic. Further updates as and when things happen.