Customs and excise quarterly update, February 2018

Published on 13 February 2018

In this update we report on the Government’s responses to its consultation on proposals to simplify the administration of alcohol duty and HMRC’s departmental plan; and HMRC’s Import Fraud Strategy Refresh.

In this edition we also comment on three recent cases involving customs valuation; seizure of alcohol by HMRC; and the Alcohol Wholesaler Registration Scheme


Simplifying the administration of alcohol duty
In November 2017, the Government published a summary of responses to its consultation document on proposals to simplify the administration of alcohol duty for the benefit of those who produce, process or store alcohol.

HMRC’s departmental plan – more criminal prosecutions promised
On 14 December 2017, HMRC published its single departmental plan setting out its objectives and how they will be achieved, including making greater use of criminal prosecutions to tackle tax evasion.

Import fraud strategy refresh
In November 2017, HMRC announced that it intends to update its Import Fraud Strategy, which was first released in 2015.


Hamamatsu Photonics – Customs duty value and transfer pricing adjustments
In Hamamatsu Photonics Deutschland GmbH v Hauptzollamt München1, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has confirmed that the Community Customs Code (CCC) does not allow transfer pricing adjustments, made after the end of the relevant accounting period, to change the customs value.

Hodson – Challenges to the seizure of alcohol by HMRC
In Hodson v HMRC2, the Upper Tribunal (UT) upheld the decision of the First-tier Tribunal (FTT), that it had no jurisdiction to decide an appeal against an excise duty assessment following seizure of goods where the seizure had not been challenged within the relevant time limits.

Smart Price Midlands and Hare Wines – HMRC must disclose documents relating to its decisions that certain companies were not “fit and proper” for registration as wholesalers of alcohol
In HMRC v Smart Price Midlands Limited and Hares Wines Limited4, the UT has dismissed HMRC’s appeals upholding the FTT’s directions that HMRC disclose documents in relation to its decisions that a number of companies were not “fit and proper” for registration as wholesalers of alcohol, under section 88C(2), Alcohol Liquor Duties Act 1979 (ALDA).



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