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This publication is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/excise-notice-196-excise-goods-registration-and-approval-of-warehousekeepers-warehouse-premises-owners-of-goods-and-registered-consignors/excise-notice-196-excise-goods-registration-and-approval-of-warehousekeepers-warehouse-premises-owners-of-goods-and-registered-consignors
This notice cancels and replaces Notice 196 (February 2017). Details of any changes to the previous version can be found in section 1.2 of this notice.
1.1 What is this notice about
This notice explains the UK requirements for the warehousing of excise goods held in duty-suspension within the UK.
You should read this notice if:
- you would like to be authorised as an excise warehousekeeper (section 3)
- you require premises to be approved as an excise warehouse (section 4)
- you are an owner of excise goods and would like to be approved and registered to hold them in an excise warehouse (section 5)
- you would like to be approved and registered as a duty representative, acting on behalf of an owner based in another Member State who wishes to hold goods in a UK excise warehouse (section 5)
- you would like to be approved and registered as a registered consignor (section 6)
- you perform operations on excise goods in an excise warehouse (section 7)
Notice 197 deals with the receipt into and removal from warehouse of excise goods in duty-suspension and should be read in conjunction with this notice.
When we directly refer to the law in this notice, we will show the standard abbreviations, for example, CEMA 79, with the full title given in section 12.
As an authorised warehousekeeper, registered owner, duty representative or registered consignor you have obligations under the law, and failure to fulfil these obligations or observe any condition of your authorisation and approval could result in one or all of the following:
- restriction of your authorisation and approval
- withdrawal of authorisation and approval of some or all the sites for which you are an authorised warehousekeeper
- withdrawal of your registered owner, duty representative or registered consignor approval
- non-renewal of your authorisation or approval for some or all the sites for which you are an authorised warehousekeeper
- non-renewal of your registered owner, duty representative or registered consignor approval, and
- the imposition of a financial penalty
In addition, where there has been a breach of our regulations, any goods concerned may be liable to forfeiture, or you may be liable for the excise duty on missing goods.
1.2 What has changed
This notice has been amended in section 14 to show a:
- change of telephone number for National Warrant Processing Unit
- change of name for National Verification Centre to the Excise Liaison Office and change of telephone number
2. Approvals, authorisations and registrations
You must be authorised to deal in duty-suspended goods. To be authorised as an excise warehousekeeper, approved as a registered owner, duty representative or registered consignor you need to contact HMRC.
We regularly review the compliance of existing authorised excise warehousekeepers and excise registered businesses and robustly challenge all new applications.
The law allows us to decide whether to:
- allow an existing authorisation or approval to continue
- approve and register new excise warehousekeepers
- approve new and additional excise warehouse premises
- approve and register new owners or duty representatives of excise goods
- approve and register registered consignors
Only persons who can demonstrate that they are fit and proper to carry out an excise business will be authorised or registered.
Failure to apply for authorisation or approval at the correct time can attract a financial penalty. You can avoid financial penalties by applying for excise warehousekeeper, excise warehouse premises, registered consignor, registered owner or duty representative approval at the correct time.
We will visit the authorised excise warehousekeeper and the approved premises of excise goods in duty-suspension to carry out checks on the:
HMRC controls consist of both audit based and physical checks. While our officers are on your premises you must make sure their safety in line with the various Health and Safety Acts. If you do not provide safe access to your premises and warehoused goods, we will restrict or withdraw your authorisation.
This notice contains our general requirements for the approval of premises, authorisation of warehousekeepers, approval of registered owners, duty representatives and registered consignors. For certain trade facility warehouses additional information is contained in Notice 39 Spirits production in the United Kingdom, Notice 179 Motor and heating fuels: General information and accounting for Excise Duty and VAT, Notice 197A Excise goods: Holding and movement (Export Shops) and Notice 197B Excise goods: Aircraft store floors.
If you are the warehousekeeper you must display prominently, the warning poster Notice 50 Duty-free warehouse warning at each entrance and exit to the warehouse site. You can download the notice from our website.
Notice 50 explains that excise goods in the warehouse may be duty-suspended. It warns that, by improperly removing these goods, anyone can incur severe penalties or imprisonment.
From 1 November 2014 registered excise businesses must make sure that they are carrying out appropriate due diligence checks on their suppliers, customers and supply chains. Further information on due diligence can be found in section 10.
We will normally arrange appointments to visit your premises, but may also make unannounced visits, particularly when undertaking physical checks. You must permit HMRC officers access to any area of the excise warehouse during warehouse operating hours or at any time when activity is taking place at the excise warehouse. All HMRC officers carry identification which they will produce upon arrival or on request.
3. Authorisation of excise warehousekeepers
3.1 Applying for authorisation
Prior to applying for authorised excise warehousekeeper status you should make sure that you are aware of the obligations and conditions which HMRC imposes upon excise warehousekeepers.
Do not assume that we will automatically authorise you as an excise warehousekeeper.
To apply you must complete Form EX61 Excise Warehousekeeper - Application for Registration which is available from the HMRC website. If you are a partnership you must also complete form EXCISE 102.
The application form must be completed and signed by a responsible person within the business. This will either be:
- the sole proprietor of the business
- one of the partners if the business is a partnership, or
- a director or the company secretary or an authorised signatory if the business is a corporate body
Completed forms should be returned to the EPT. You will find contact details for the EPT and other offices at the end of this notice.
You must apply at least 45 working days before the date on which you wish your authorisation to begin. This is to allow us time to carry out the necessary verification and pre-approval checks, which will normally include a visit to your place of business.
Your application will be vetted and is subject to background checks. Should these checks provide insufficient assurance that the business is suitable for authorisation, further information may be requested. Until this information is received, your application will be put on hold.
3.2 The next steps
It is important that all applicants receive a pre-approval visit so that HMRC may obtain information to assist in the processing of the application.
During the visit we will examine all the business’s activities and may enquire about your suppliers, customers, business plans, accounting systems, premises, financial viability, and other relevant matters.
Only applicants who can demonstrate that they are fit and proper to carry on an excise business will be granted approval. This means we must be satisfied that the business is a genuine enterprise which is commercially viable, with a genuine need for approval, and that all persons with an important role or interest in it are law abiding, responsible, and do not pose any significant threat in terms of potential revenue non-compliance or fraud.
HMRC will assess all applicants (not just the legal entity of the business but all partners, directors and other key persons) against a number of ‘fit and proper’ criteria to establish:
- there is no evidence that the legal entity or key persons involved in the business have been previously involved in significant revenue non-compliance or fraud, either within excise or any other regime. Some examples of evidence are we would consider are:
- penalties for wrongdoing or other civil penalties which suggest a business does not have a responsible outlook on its tax obligations
- previous occasions where approvals have been revoked or refused for this or other regimes
- previous confiscation orders and recovery proceedings under the Proceeds of Crime Act
- key persons have been disqualified as a director under company law
- there are no connections between the business, or key persons involved in the business, and other known non-compliant or fraudulent businesses
- key persons involved in the business have no criminal convictions which are relevant (for example, offences involving any dishonesty or links to organised criminal activity). We will normally disregard convictions that are spent provided there are no wider indications that the person in question continues to pose a serious threat to the revenue. An ‘unspent’ conviction is one that has not expired under the terms of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974
- the application is accurate and complete and there has been no attempt to deceive
- there have not been persistent or negligent failures to comply with any HMRC record-keeping requirements (for example, poor record keeping in spite of previous warnings or absence of key business records)
- the applicant, or key persons in the business, have not previously attempted to avoid being approved and traded unapproved
- the business has provided sufficient evidence of its commercial viability and/or credibility. We will not approve applicants where we find that they cannot substantiate that there is a genuine plan to legitimately trade from the proposed date of approval
- there are no outstanding, unmanaged HMRC debts or a history of poor payment
- the business has in place satisfactory due diligence procedures covering its dealings with prospective customers and suppliers to protect it from trading in illicit supply-chains (see section 10 for more information about due diligence)
‘Key persons’ are those who play a key role in the operation of the business to the extent that they can be seen as one of its ‘guiding minds’. For example, they have authority and responsibility for directing and controlling the activities of the business or day to day management. It also includes significant beneficiaries of the business who are not directors or partners etc.
Applicants for authorised excise warehousekeeper status will also need to demonstrate the following before approval can be granted:
- they are able to provide adequate financial security for their warehouse premises as required by HMRC (see section 4.5)
- they have an accounting system that satisfies HMRC requirements
- they have adequate IT infrastructure in place which is sufficient to support the business an HMRC systems such as the Excise Movement and Control System (see section 3.3.1)
The above lists are not exhaustive. If we are not satisfied with the information provided to us, we may refuse to authorise you. In addition, if you fail to provide us with the information requested, we will place your application on hold until the information is received. We will notify you of the reason or reasons for the refusal.
3.3 Excise warehouse records
As part of the procedure for authorising you as a warehousekeeper you must demonstrate that you have the ability to keep the commercial records as laid down in Notice 206 Revenue traders records, ensuring that all information is permanent and legible.
Your records must show details of all excise goods received, stored in and removed from the excise warehouse.
The warehousekeeper must normally also register for access to the Excise Movement and Control System (EMCS) within the online services offered by HMRC. Access to EMCS will be required for dispatching and receiving goods using this system. Full details of the procedures for receiving and dispatching excise goods in duty suspension under EMCS are contained in Notice 197.
You will not necessarily need any special IT systems; however, you will need access to the Internet to be able to access EMCS. EMCS can be accessed either through the Online Services section of the HMRC website, or by purchasing an IT system, from a suitable software supplier, which is capable of directly interfacing with EMCS.
Whichever system you choose, you will first need to register for access to our Online Services. Guidance on how to do this is provided on the Online Services homepage. (If you are already registered for Online Services for another reason, you do not need to re-register). You will then need to add EMCS onto the list of services you wish to have access to. This request may take up to seven days to process, as your Activation Code will be sent to you through the post.
Please note that when you register for our Online Services you will be sent an Activation Code that is valid for 28 days - if you do not use it within this time you will need to re-register with Online Services. Full details can be found at HMRC services: sign in or register.
It is important that you register for EMCS using your warehousekeeper identity and not your warehouse premises identity. If you register with your premises identity you will not gain access to EMCS and will have to re-register using your warehousekeeper identity which may take up to seven days for HMRC to process.
3.3.2 Manual records
We allow the use of manual records, however, if you use loose-leaf stock records you must serially number the pages.
As a minimum, your stock accounts must show:
- a full description of the goods (including age and date of first warehousing for spirits)
- the current location of goods in the warehouse
- the duty status of the goods, and evidence of any duties paid
- the name, address and, if appropriate, the VAT Registration Number of the owner, and, if applicable, the duty representative
- whether the goods have been subject to a supply in warehouse, and
- a means of identifying all goods to their stock number or vice versa
Additional record keeping requirements for certain trade facility warehouses may be required. Refer to section 2 for detail of the additional notices relating to other types of trade facility warehouse.
3.3.3 Electronic records
If you wish to use computers for stock control and/or accounting purposes, you should include this request in your application for approval, providing full details of the system you intend to adopt. The standard of records stored on your computer must be equivalent to that required if you were to use manual records.
HMRC does not endorse a specific software package and advises that the software packages which are used in one warehouse may not be appropriate for use elsewhere.
Should your authorisation application request permission to use computer versions of official forms, please include copies of these forms with your application so that we can make sure they meet our requirements.
When considering granting approval to use your specified software package we require:
- the right of access to your computer systems and to the data and documentation (including financial and management systems) that relate to your business
- the facility to download data for any checks and audit work which we may carry out off-site
- you to provide any necessary assistance to our officers whilst carrying out audits of your systems
- you to include the software package in your annual audit and make sure the auditor’s report is available to us.
- you to have in place adequate back up, fallback and disaster recovery systems in place
- you to give us advance notice of any proposed changes to the software package, as you cannot introduce any changes that may affect the systems ability to account for the excise goods without our approval
You must make sure that safeguards exist to protect your system from inadvertent corruption. If necessary, we request that you:
- provide a terminal for official use, which is capable only of printing, reading files and displaying information on the VDU
- allocate a unique password to our officers which will allow us to access the files on a ‘read only’ basis
- maintain a record of changes to programmes
- prevent unauthorised access to data
3.3.4 Stock marking and control
You must mark all excise goods, so that you can identify them in your stock accounts. Excise goods must have clear and tamper-proof markings at all times whilst in your excise warehouse, from arrival to removal from the duty-suspension system. You may use any system which meets this requirement (for example, bar coding), providing that you can establish an audit trail.
A stock account must show the following details:
- a commercial description of the product (for example, Old St Andrews Golf Ball Miniatures)
- the quantity received (in litres for all goods other than spirits which should be in litres of alcohol)
- the alcoholic strength of the product
- the quantity received in cases, casks and/or polydrums
- a unique identifying reference number
- the date received
- the owner of the goods
You must make sure that:
- your stock records accurately record any change of ownership
- all owners of relevant goods are registered with HMRC and the date that you examined their certificate or, if appropriate, the duty representative’s certificate
- full details of owners and duty representatives are available to us
You should keep all excise goods in clearly identified locations so that you can readily trace them to the stock account. You must note the appropriate stock account whenever you move excise goods to a new location in the excise warehouse.
You must check the accuracy of your stock by undertaking a satisfactory inventory-checking system as agreed with us and by complete stocktaking at reasonable intervals.
You must take stock of all excise goods in the excise warehouse:
- monthly in the case of bulk goods in vats or in storage tanks
- annually in the case of all other excise goods
We may ask you to produce all stocktaking records and working papers. If you do not carry out stock control measures, we may restrict or even cancel your excise warehouse approval.
We may ask you to carry out a stocktake if there is reasonable cause to do so. In such circumstances we will give you written instructions.
As an authorised warehousekeeper, you are responsible for the care and control of the goods in your approved sites. You must take all necessary steps to control and safeguard your stocks and investigate and examine critically all losses and deficiencies.
- record losses and the results of your investigations into them, including any management decisions taken
- take prompt remedial action
- report losses or deficiencies in line with arrangements agreed with us
- note the loss in the stock account
Failure to report notifiable losses immediately is a serious breach of your conditions of approval, and could lead to its revocation.
We will charge duty on losses and deficiencies of excise goods in your warehouse unless you can show us that they are due to natural causes or accident. Normally, we will issue an assessment to the warehousekeeper for any duty due.
Only if you can demonstrate that stock losses and stock surpluses are related (for example, the product is similar but stock rotations differ), can you request off-setting. Your records and accounts must contain a clear audit trail to justify any adjustments of stock records following the discovery of any errors. You must be able to justify each offset. We do not allow you to accumulate losses and surpluses from various sources and then offset gross totals against each other.
If at any time you discover a discrepancy in your stock you must immediately contact the Excise and Customs Helpline on Telephone: 0300 200 3700.
It is a serious offence to conceal any deficiency, surplus or other discrepancy.
3.4 Granting or refusing an application for authorisation
If we accept your application, we will issue a certificate of authorisation. You should check the accuracy of the details on the certificate which should be kept in a safe place and made available to our officers on request. Any inaccuracies should be reported to the EPT immediately. All the excise warehouses which you are authorised to operate will be listed on the reverse of your certificate, plus details of any conditions that we have placed on your authorisation.
If we refuse your application, we will inform you in writing and give our reason or reasons. We will offer you a review of our decision or you can appeal direct to the independent tribunal (see section 11).
You must tell the EPT within seven days if any information contained on your certificate of authorisation changes. When you receive a replacement certificate, you must destroy the previous certificate, or we may impose a financial penalty.
If the status of your business changes (for example, a sole proprietor becomes a partnership or all the approved excise warehouses are transferred to a company which is not an authorised excise warehousekeeper), the new legal entity must apply to become an authorised excise warehousekeeper in its own right.
In addition, if there is any change to the key persons involved in the business, we retain the right to review the authorisation after considering the fit and proper criteria set out in section 3.2. Following this review your authorisation may be withdrawn or have conditions added.
We will not automatically authorise the new applicant.
3.5 Cancelling the authorisation
You must write to the EPT at least 30 days before the date you want to cancel your authorisation. On the date of cancellation, you must destroy your certificate of registration or we may impose a financial penalty.
Unless the duty-suspended stock is transferred to another approved excise warehouse before the cancellation date, excise duty becomes due.
3.6 HMRC imposed cancellation or changes to your authorisation
We can withdraw or vary your authorisation immediately, at any time, for reasonable cause. If we decide to withdraw your authorisation, as a concession, we may give you a period of notice.
If we withdraw your authorisation we will inform you in writing giving our reasons for our action. We will offer you a review of our decision or you can appeal direct to the independent tribunal (see section 11).
You must destroy your certificate of registration on the day your authorisation ceases.
Unless another authorised excise warehousekeeper agrees to operate the premises with immediate effect, you will be liable for the duty on all the stock in your excise warehouse. Any changes of authorised warehousekeeper must be notified to the EPT within adequate time for the change to be made.
Even if you lodge an appeal against the withdrawal of your authorisation you will cease to be an authorised excise warehousekeeper from the date of the withdrawal.
4. Approval of premises as an excise warehouse
HMRC will consider three types of premises approval - general storage and distribution warehouses, trade facility warehouses and motor and heating fuels warehouses.
4.1 General storage and distribution warehouses
In order for HMRC to consider approving your premises as a general storage and distribution warehouse you must:
- meet the minimum throughput levels - a minimum potential duty liability of £500,000 on the average monthly stockholding of duty-suspended excise goods or a duty liability of at least £2,000,000 on an annual throughput of duty-suspended excise goods
- demonstrate a genuine need for additional excise warehouse storage facilities in the area
- provide a premises guarantee (if needed)
- make sure that the premises are secure
- make sure that the premises allow HMRC safe access to all approved areas and duty-suspended stock
- make sure that your systems allow us to carry out an audit and any other checks
- meet all the conditions set out in the law and this notice
- meet any other conditions which we may impose on your approval
4.2 Trade facility warehouses
A trade facility warehouse is a warehouse approved for a specific purpose that is required to be completed within an approved warehouse to maintain the duty-suspension chain. Any application for a trade facility warehouse must fully detail the purpose for the application and why this purpose can only be completed within duty-suspension. Such purposes may include:
- the maturation of spirits produced at an associated distillery
- goods which will not bear UK excise duty; for example, goods for export, goods used in pharmaceuticals, goods used in foodstuff, goods to be removed for use as ship or aircraft stores
- performing any allowable operation on the goods
The above list is not exhaustive and we have given examples here only.
We will in the first instance examine why your request can only be completed in duty-suspension. If there is no valid reason for the request, or the operation could be performed after the goods are released for consumption, the application will be rejected.
Additionally, if approval is granted, we will restrict any approval as a trade facility warehouse to the specific trade need as detailed on your application; for example, we will limit your approval to a bottling operation. This means we will include in your approval the time period that duty-suspended goods may be stored on the premises before and after the actual period for which the trade facilitation purpose is allowed to take place. Once the purpose of the trade facilitation has been completed, the goods must either be duty-paid or removed in duty-suspension to a warehouse approved to store such goods or exported outside the UK.
You will not be allowed to receive, hold or move duty-suspended excise goods outside of the trade facilitation granted.
Trade facility warehouses do not have to meet the throughput levels of a general storage and distribution warehouse. HMRC will not approve a general storage and distribution warehouse as a trade facility warehouse just because it does not meet the throughput criteria.
4.3 Motor and heating fuel warehouses
A motor and heating fuels warehouse is premises where mineral (hydrocarbon) oil, biofuels and special energy products may be stored in duty-suspension.
These warehouses are approved for a specific purpose and specified products, and are normally required to provide a minimum of one million litres bulk storage capacity. Further details about the conditions and requirements that apply can be found in Notice 179.
4.4 Applying for excise warehouse approval
If you wish to apply for approval as an excise warehouse you should complete form EX68 (for general storage and distribution), EX69 (for trade facility) or EX70/71 (for motor and heating fuels). All forms are available from the HMRC website. Please refer to section 3.1 for detail on who should complete and sign the application forms.
Completed forms should be sent to the EPT as soon as possible. We aim to process applications within 45 working days of receipt at the EPT.
In order to operate an excise warehouse, you must be approved as an authorised warehousekeeper (see section 3).
When you apply you must include:
- three copies of drawings or plans showing details of the proposed approved area
- a copy (or, if this is impractical, an executive summary) of your premises’ Health and Safety Risk assessment
- any other information that we request (for example, business plans)
Prior to approving the premises an HMRC officer will visit you, at which point you must satisfy us of all of the following:
- the premises are physically secure and suitable for the intended purpose
- potential risks to the revenue are appropriately managed
- our officers can work in a healthy and safe environment
For trade facility warehouse approvals, you must provide full details of the trade facility that you are applying for and be able to demonstrate why such an operation must be completed in duty-suspension
You must also be able to fulfil any further conditions HMRC may reasonably apply.
4.5 Premises guarantees
For the purposes of this notice, a premises guarantee is a guarantee given by an approved guarantor (for example, a financial institution) who undertakes to pay money to HMRC in the event of a chargeable loss being detected with regards to warehoused goods, where the person with the prime (or joint and several) liability fails to pay that duty.
Authorised excise warehousekeepers should contact the Financial Securities Centre (FSC) for further details about applying for a premises guarantee. You will find the contact details for the FSC at the end of this notice.
Guarantees are the only form of security acceptable to HMRC. We will issue the draft guarantee form to you when we have agreed your level of security. If you disagree with the level of the guarantee you have the right to an independent review of our decision.
You must ask your guarantor to complete the guarantee form and return it to the FSC. If satisfied we will accept the guarantee and return a signed copy to the guarantor.
Only companies approved by HMRC may act as guarantors. Most banks and insurance companies have this approval, but if you wish to check a particular company please ask the FSC.
A guarantee is valid only when the named principal has a permanent place of business or residence in the UK.
The cost of maintaining the guarantee is a commercial arrangement between you and the guarantor.
Your completed guarantee will form a part of your application for approval of your premises.
You should be aware that your liability is not restricted to the size of the guarantee. We can assess the person with prime liability, or notify a joint and several liability, for all outstanding duty arising from any chargeable loss in the warehouse. These liabilities may be significantly greater than the size of the guarantee.
The authorised warehousekeeper (or an associated or parent company) must provide the premises security.
For general storage and distribution warehouses and motor and heating fuel warehouses, we will base the level of security on the potential duty due on your average end of month stock calculated over a twelve-month period, allowing for any seasonal variations. For trade facility warehouses we base our calculations on the proposed or current throughput levels.
|Potential duty on month-end stock holding||Level of security|
|less than £100,000||Nil|
|more than £100,000 but less than £400,000||£100,000|
|more than £400,000 but less than £1m||25% of potential duty|
|more than £1m but less than £25m||£250,000|
|more than £25m but less than £100m||1% of potential duty|
|more than £100m||£1m|
The minimum level of security for new general storage and distribution warehouses is £250,000.
We offer a reduction of the guarantee levels for established traders in certain circumstances. We only allow this if we have made no claim against the security and no significant irregularities have been identified in the operation of the excise warehouse during a specified period.
In the following circumstances we may allow reductions for premises security:
|If the principal has||And we have||The level of security is reduced|
|Provided security for the two previous consecutive years.||Made no claim against the security and no significant irregularities have been identified.||By 50%.|
|Provided security for the previous four consecutive years.||Made no claim against the security and no significant irregularities have been identified.||No guarantee is required.|
Where the principal qualifies for a reduction in the level of security and the new security required would be less than £100,000, no security is required.
Should you be entitled to a reduction, please write to the FSC stating the grounds for your request.
Where we are obliged to make a claim against a reduced level of security, we will issue a ‘notice of withdrawal’ to the guarantor and principal. The level of cover provided by the replacement guarantee will revert to at least 100% of the amounts shown above for premises security.
Unless you (as the authorised excise warehousekeeper) have applied and been granted a reduction in the level of premises security, the level of premises guarantee must be reviewed at least every six months. You must keep a record of this review.
As an authorised warehousekeeper you must write to the FSC if your trading pattern changes as it could result in an increased level of guarantee.
We may carry out similar checks to make sure that your level of security is satisfactory and could therefore ask for additional security as a condition of your approval if we identify a weakness in your system or consider your trading pattern has altered.
A change in trading pattern could also mean a reduction in the level of security required. If you consider that you qualify for a reduction you should write to the FSC stating the grounds for your request.
If you are a principal you can apply for a single guarantee covering more than one set of premises or to cover both premises and duty-suspended movements. In such circumstances, the month-end stockholding of all your excise warehouses and the amount of movement guarantee must be totalled to calculate the size of the security.
Multi-site security of premises/companies, in conjunction with a movement guarantee, gives commercial benefits in terms of the overall level of security required. However, it carries additional risks in that one significant irregularity on the part of any of the company’s activities would result in the loss to the entire group of any reductions granted, or result in the cancellation of your entire guarantee.
4.6 The approval process and refusal of an application
Once we are satisfied that the premises meet all our requirements and that you or someone else have been accepted as the authorised excise warehousekeeper, you will receive an approval letter which sets out the conditions of your approval. For excise warehousekeepers trading with other EU countries, the approval letter will also indicate that your premises are approved as a tax warehouse. You will receive one copy of the approval letter for your records.
HMRC may not grant an excise warehouse premises approval if:
- the prospective authorised warehousekeeper for those premises fails to meet any of the fit and proper criteria set out in section 3.2
- there are significant health and safety or security risks identified within the premises
- the business cannot demonstrate a genuine need for an excise warehouse
- the excise warehouse will not meet the throughput or stockholding criteria or the premises are too small to justify claimed potential throughput (general storage and distribution warehouse only)
- the premises do not fulfil a particular trade need or are not suitable for the intended operations or it has not been demonstrated that the trade facilitation must be completed within the duty-suspension regime (trade facility warehouse only)
- the applicant cannot provide a minimum one million litres bulk storage capacity or the warehouse is for the exclusive use of the applicant or an associated company (motor and heating fuels warehouses only)
The above list is not exhaustive.
If we cannot approve your application, we will inform you in writing and give our reason or reasons. We will offer you a review of our decision or you can appeal direct to the independent tribunal (see section 11).
4.7 Post approval action
HMRC will grant new premises approvals for an initial maximum period of twelve months, during which time we will carry out checks to make sure that your business meets the required throughput levels/trade facility need and that you are complying with all the conditions of your approval.
During the first 12 months, you must observe all the conditions specified in the warehouse approval letter. If you do not comply with all the conditions of your approval we may add to or vary those conditions, withdraw your approval and consider imposing financial penalties.
Only if we are satisfied that you are operating your excise warehouse in an acceptable manner will your premises approval be extended. If we have any doubts over the validity of the business or you have not fully complied with the terms and conditions set out on your premises approval or excise warehousekeeper registration, we may immediately cancel the approval or renew your approval for a further limited period, at which point we will carry out a review of your activities.
You should be aware that any premises approval only covers the premises named in the approval. If you wish to open another excise warehouse to hold duty-suspended goods, you must write to the EPT quoting your excise warehousekeeper authorisation number. If you wish to occupy premises which are currently approved under another approval, you must also hold the endorsement of the current excise warehousekeeper to transfer their premises to you. We consider this a request for approval of a new excise warehouse. You will be required to supply the same level of information presented for any new premises application. You will need to check your level of premises security and if necessary arrange for a higher level of security.
We will not grant any new approval until we are satisfied that you can provide adequate security.
4.8 Variations to existing approvals
If you require HMRC to vary the terms of your warehouse approval either temporarily or permanently, you must complete form EX68, EX69 or EX70/71 as early as possible. You must state what you require and why. Examples may include:
- to include or exclude types of excise goods
- to increase or decrease the approved area
If you currently provide premises security, you must check the level of your guarantee and if necessary arrange for a higher level of security. We will not grant any new approval until you can demonstrate that you are able to provide adequate security.
We will advise you of our decision in writing within our published Charter Standards.
Any structural additions or alterations to approved areas, other than routine repairs, would be treated in the same manner as a ‘variation’ to your existing approval.
It is in your own interests to receive our written consent before you start any work as a failure to advise HMRC of any alterations or additions to the structure of the warehouse may result in your approval being withdrawn.
If you can provide evidence that you have a need for additional storage space (for example, due to seasonal demand), then we will consider permitting you to use additional premises under the terms of your main excise warehouse approval. We call such additional premises an ‘annexe warehouse’. We do not specify the distance between the main excise warehouse and any additional premises but you must comply with all the conditions of the main excise warehouse approval. If you cannot do this you will have to seek separate approval for the additional excise premises. All the conditions contained within your main excise warehouse approval will apply to any annexe excise warehouse we permit you to use.
Under certain conditions, we will allow you to store different classes of excise goods on a single approved site. This is known as ‘co-storage’. You must write to the EPT asking us to vary your excise warehouse approval.
You may store goods:
- that are liable only to excise duty which is suspended
- on which excise duty and any other duties have been paid (in other words UK duty-paid goods
- that are not liable to any duty (known as ‘innocent goods’)
You must satisfy us that your accounting system is capable of:
- identifying and recording the location and duty status of all the excise goods at all times
- running the various accounting routines for all classes of excise goods
- showing clearly when duty becomes due
Your system must make sure that duty-paid goods cannot revert to duty-suspended status and that duty-suspended goods cannot be shown as duty-paid without prior payment of duty.
4.10 Movement between the main warehouse and annexe warehouses
All excise goods must be received at the main excise warehouse and removed from the main excise warehouse. In addition, you must account for all receipts and complete any removal documentation at the main excise warehouse.
We do not specify the distance between the main warehouse and any additional premises but you must comply with all the conditions of the main warehouse approval. If you cannot do this you will have to seek separate approval for the additional premises. Any additional premises are approved under the terms of your main warehouse approval and are not excise warehouses in their own right.
You must apply for a separate warehouse approval for your additional premises if you wish to receive goods into or send goods out from the additional premises.
If you currently provide premises security, you will need to check the amount of your guarantee. If necessary, you must arrange for a higher level of security.
You must also:
- control all movements of excise goods in and out of the additional premises
- incorporate stock records relating to goods in the additional premises into your existing stock system
- make sure you keep a record of all transfers to and from the additional premises
In the case of mineral (Hydrocarbon) oils, the above requirements only apply to floating storage that has been approved in conjunction with a Motor and Heating Fuels (bunkers only) Export Warehouse (see Notice 179).
4.11 Transferring a premises approval to another authorised warehousekeeper
An approval does not automatically continue if an authorised excise warehousekeeper sells or transfers their warehouse premises.
In such cases the prospective new excise warehousekeeper must apply for a new warehouse approval in accordance with section 4.4.
4.12 Renewal of approval
If you require your excise warehouse approval to continue beyond its specified date, you must apply to the EPT for renewal at least two months before your approval expires.
We may not renew your approval when:
- your levels of trade do not meet the required levels of throughput or month-end stockholding
- you are not meeting the trade facility for which you were granted approval
- you have failed to comply with any of the conditions of your approval
If we cannot renew your approval, we will inform you in writing and give our reasons. We will offer you a review of our decision or you can appeal direct to the independent tribunal (see section 11).
Even if we have granted approval with an expiry date, we will still advise you in writing of the cancellation of the approval, giving at least 3 months notice and the reason or reasons for our decision.
4.13 Cancellation of approval
Section 92 of CEMA 1979 allows HMRC to cancel warehouse premises approval at any time if there is reasonable cause.
In particular, we will cancel an approval if a premises guarantor has advised us that they are withdrawing from their guarantee arrangements and you are unable to provide a replacement premises guarantor.
If you fail to comply with any piece of legislation concerning the holding and movement of excise goods or any condition attached to your approval, we may cancel or vary your approval. In such circumstances we will also cancel your authorisation as an excise warehousekeeper. Under Regulation 20(2) of the Warehousekeepers and Owners of Warehoused Goods Regulations 1999, excise duty becomes due on all excise warehoused goods unless another authorised warehousekeeper takes over the responsibility for the premises with immediate effect.
We will give you three months notice of revocation of an excise warehouse approval. In exceptional circumstances this notice period can be reduced if we decide it is necessary.
Before the date from which your approval is cancelled you must remove all duty-suspended goods from your excise warehouse by either paying the duty, moving the goods to another approved excise warehouse or removing the goods for a purpose which does not attract duty.
You must comply with any conditions we impose, pending a review or appeal of the cancellation.
Any duty-suspended goods remaining in the excise warehouse after the date of closure will be liable to forfeiture.
5. Registration of owners of excise goods in warehouse (including duty representatives)
As an excise warehousekeeper, before you accept goods into your warehouse you must make sure that:
- the owner of the goods is an excise registered owner
- if the depositor is an overseas owner, they have appointed a duty representative
- the owner does not require registration
All owners of duty-suspended excise goods must obtain approval and registration, unless:
- the goods belong to the authorised excise warehousekeeper of that excise warehouse
- the owner of the excise goods is not a revenue trader
- the excise goods are UK duty paid tobacco products or mineral oils for warehousing for export under the Excise Goods (Drawback) Regulations 1995 (EGDR). See section 6 of Notice 197 Receipt into and removal from an excise warehouse of excise goods for further details
- the excise goods are wine or made-wine
- the excise goods are hydrocarbon oils, bioethanol or special energy products, or
- you are a non-UK based owner and have appointed a duty representative to act on your behalf
Registered excise owners and duty representatives must produce their registration certificates to you as the authorised excise warehousekeeper. If we issue an amended or varied certificate to an owner or duty representative, a copy of the new certificate must be provided to every excise warehousekeeper in which the owner’s excise goods are stored. The certificates will contain details of any conditions imposed by us.
We will confirm the validity of any registration if an excise warehousekeeper supplies the EPT with the name and registration number on the certificate.
We will not give out any information regarding conditions or restrictions; however, these details will be on the registration certificate provided to you as the registered owner. We will keep a record of your request.
5.2 Registration process for an owner
To apply for approval to own excise goods in an excise warehouse you must have a UK business address and apply on form EX60 Owners of duty suspended goods held in excise warehouses - application for registration.
An owner is considered to be a sole proprietor, a partnership or a limited company. If you are a partnership you must also complete form EXCISE 102.
Please refer to section 3.1 for detail on who should complete and sign the application form.
You must send an up to date business plan with your application. You may be requested to send further additional business papers to substantiate your application. When all the requested information is held by HMRC we intend to process your application within 45 working days.
If you are unable to provide a business plan or other requested information you should contact the EPT. Failure to do this will result in your application not being processed until this information is received.
If you do not have a business address in the UK, you will be unable to keep the goods in an excise warehouse for more than the initial period, which is 72 hours (excluding Saturdays, Sundays and other specified days), after which duty is due on the excise goods.
If, as an overseas owner, you wish to hold excise goods in duty-suspension beyond this time you should appoint a duty representative (see section 5.3).
In considering your application, HMRC will apply a fit and proper test set out in section 3.2 of this notice. If any applicant provides false or misleading information on the application form, we may:
- cancel any approval which we have granted
- impose financial penalties
- prosecute the applicant
If you have previously been registered as an owner or a duty representative you must tell us, supplying your previous registration number, name and address.
As a part of our registration procedure we will ask for further information about you and your business. If you fail to supply this information we will place your application on hold until this information is received.
If we accept your application, we will issue you with a certificate of registration. The certificate will contain the following information:
- your unique registration reference number
- your name and (if different) your trading name
- your address
- any conditions or restrictions which apply to your registration
You should quote the unique registration reference number on all correspondence with HMRC in connection with your registration. You should also have it available when contacting us.
If we do not accept your application, we will inform you in writing and give our reasons for the rejection. We will offer you a review of our decision or you can appeal direct to the independent tribunal (see section 11).
5.3 Duty representatives
Duty representatives must have a business or other fixed establishment in the UK and may only represent non-UK based owners. HMRC refers to such owners as your ‘principals’. Anyone wishing to act as a duty representative should apply on form EX64. If you are a partnership you must also complete form EXCISE 102. Please refer to section 3.1 for detail on who should complete and sign the application form.
Applications for duty representative approval will be considered against the fit and proper criteria set out in section 3.2 of this notice.
Duty representatives must, prior to acting for an owner, carry out checks to make sure that any owner that they represent does not have a business establishment or fixed address in the UK. A duty representative will be expected to retain evidence that they have carried out such checks on each principal before they act for them.
Failure to complete these checks and hold the required evidence will result in the duty representative’s registration being revoked and may also affect any other excise registrations or approvals they hold.
5.4 Conditions that may be applied to a registration
All owners and duty representatives must comply with the conditions and restrictions detailed in this notice. In addition, we may apply specific conditions (for example, restrictions of the type of goods that can be warehoused) which we will list on your certificate of registration.
Guarantees are the only form of financial security acceptable to HMRC. We will issue the draft guarantee form to you when we have agreed your level of security. If you disagree about the level of guarantee you have the right to a review of our decision or you can appeal direct to the independent tribunal (see section 11). You must ask your guarantor to complete the guarantee form and return it to the FSC. If satisfied, we will accept the guarantee and return a signed copy to the guarantor.
Only companies approved by HMRC may act as guarantors. Most banks and insurance companies have this approval, but if you want to check a particular company please ask the FSC. A guarantee is valid only when the named principal has a permanent place of business or residence in the UK.
The cost of maintaining the guarantee is a commercial arrangement between you and the guarantor.
You should be aware that your liability as principal is not restricted to the size of the guarantee. We can assess you for all outstanding duty arising from any irregularities in the warehouse. These liabilities may be significantly greater than the size of your guarantee.
5.6 Cancellation of registration
We may cancel your registration at any time. If we do so, then we will inform you in writing and give our reasons for the cancellation. We will offer you a review of our decision or you can appeal direct to the independent tribunal (see section 11).
When your registration is cancelled, you must immediately destroy your certificate of registration and inform every excise warehousekeeper in whose excise warehouse your goods are deposited. You cease to be a registered owner the instant we cancel your registration.
If you are a revenue trader and your registration is cancelled you (the owner) will be jointly and severally liable with the excise warehousekeeper and the person or persons who owned the excise goods immediately before and after the excise duty point (and any duty representative of either of the owners), for the excise duty due.
However, if you are not a revenue trader and your registration is cancelled your goods can remain in duty-suspension in the excise warehouse.
If you wish to cancel your registration you must write to the EPT at least 30 days before the date on which you require HMRC to cancel your registration.
If we agree to cancel your registration, we will inform you in writing.
On the date of cancellation you must destroy your certificate of registration.
5.7 Amendment of registration details
If the legal status of your business changes (for example, a sole proprietor becomes a partnership), the new legal entity must apply to become a registered owner prior to taking ownership of the excise goods. We will not automatically approve the new applicant. In addition, if there is any change to the key persons involved in the business, we retain the right to review the registration after considering the fit and proper criteria set out in section 3.2. Following this review, your registration may be withdrawn or have conditions added.
For any changes to the details contained on your certificate of registration (for example, change of address) you must advise the EPT in writing within 7 days of the change taking effect. We will provide you with a new certificate. Within 7 days of receipt of the replacement certificate, you must provide a copy of it to every excise warehousekeeper in whose excise warehouse your excise goods are deposited. Failure to notify changes to the details shown on your certificate of registration may result in the issue of a financial penalty.
You must destroy the previous certificate as soon as you receive the replacement certificate.
5.8 Changes of ownership in warehouse
The owner or duty representative of excise goods stored in an excise warehouse must inform the excise warehousekeeper in advance when any duty-suspended goods are sold in warehouse.
The new owner must produce their registration certificate to the warehousekeeper, which will contain details of any conditions attached to the registration.
If the new owner is a revenue trader but not registered with us, the duty becomes immediately due to HMRC. The warehousekeeper, the buyer and the seller will be jointly and severally liable for the duty. In your own interests, if this happens, you should advise the Excise and Customs Helpline immediately.
Similarly, an overseas owner of duty-suspended goods must give you 72 hours notice of a change of their duty representative. They must also give 72 hours notice of the change to their duty representative.
Confirmation of the validity of the registration can be obtained from the EPT.
5.9 Obligations of owners and duty representatives when receiving cash payments for duty-suspended sales of alcohol products in warehouse
Owners and duty representatives who have been paid or expect to be paid by customers in cash for the sale or supply of duty-suspended alcohol products (that is, spirits and spirits-based beverages, beer, wine, made-wine, cider and perry) exceeding £9,000 (or equivalent in other currencies) must complete form W7 Notification of cash payments for alcohol goods or alcohol related services in duty suspension and send this immediately (without undue delay) by fax or email to the number or email address shown on the W7.
This form must be fully completed in accordance with the notes on the reverse.
Where duty-suspended alcohol products are transferred to approved excise warehouses in the UK or other EU Member States, form W7 must be submitted prior to the removal of the goods from the dispatching warehouse.
It may be commercial practice for customers to pay cash in two or more instalments which individually are below the £9,000 notification threshold but the total sale will exceed this amount. In such circumstances owners and duty representatives must notify HMRC on form W7 when the first cash payment is received.
Failure to notify qualifying transactions to HMRC may result in the issue of a financial penalty with persistent failure resulting in the withdrawal of the registered owner’s or duty representative’s approval.
5.10 The Warehousekeepers and Owners of Warehoused Goods Regulations (WOWGR) - summary of main duty points
|Circumstances||Duty point||Liability of warehousekeeper|
|A warehousekeeper accepts goods contrary to any conditions shown on his certificate of registration or approval letter||Time of deposit||Sole|
|Goods remain in a warehouse after the authorisation ceases.||Time when authorisation ceases.||Sole.|
|A warehousekeeper accepts goods but does not see the required certificate of registration. During the Initial Period he removes the goods to a purpose other than home use.||Time of deposit.||Sole.|
|A warehousekeeper accepts goods but does not see the certificate of registration within the Initial Period.||Time of deposit.||Sole.
The warehousekeeper may immediately abandon the goods to the Commissioners (see Notice 197).
|Goods are in a warehouse and owned by a revenue trader (other than the warehousekeeper) but there is no longer a registered owner or duty representative in respect of those goods.||Time when registration of owner or duty representative ceases.||Joint and several with the owner or duty representative.
The warehousekeeper may immediately abandon the goods to the Commissioners (see Notice 197).
|An owner (this includes an authorised warehousekeeper) sells goods in warehouse. The new owner is a revenue trader but not registered with us.||Time of sale.||Joint and several with the seller and the buyer.
The warehousekeeper may immediately abandon the goods to the Commissioners and will no longer have joint and several duty liability (see Notice 197).
6. Approval as a registered consignor
A registered consignor is a natural or legal person approved by HMRC who in the course of their business and under the conditions set by us, dispatches excise goods under excise duty-suspension arrangements upon their release to free circulation (meaning that all customs duties have been paid or accounted for).
When non-EU goods are imported into the EU via a UK port or airport they may only be moved in excise duty-suspension to allowable destinations when a registered consignor has started the movement via EMCS following release of the goods to free circulation.
6.2 Approval process for a registered consignor
We will only consider approving import agents and authorised warehousekeepers who receive the goods from the place of release to free circulation (for example a UK port, airport or inland clearance depot) as registered consignors. We have defined these persons as follows:
- an import agent is the person who, acting on behalf of the importer, makes the import declaration into CHIEF declaring the goods to free circulation (using one of the Customs procedure codes listed in the 07 or 68 series of the Tariff)
- the authorised warehousekeeper for the approved tax warehouse in the UK to which the goods are destined
Either of these persons wishing to apply for approval should fully complete form EX72 (and form EXCISE 102 in the case of a partnership) and forward the completed form to the EPT. Please refer to section 3.1 for detail on who should complete and sign the application form.
If we accept your application, we will issue you with a certificate of registration. The certificate will contain the following information:
- your unique registration reference number
- your name and (if different) your trading name
- your address
- any conditions or restrictions which apply to your registration
You should quote the unique registration reference number on all correspondence with HMRC in connection with your approval. You should also have it available when contacting us.
If we do not accept your application, we will inform you in writing and give our reasons for the rejection. We will offer you a review of our decision or you can appeal direct to an independent tribunal (see section 11).
If you are approved you must also register for access to the Excise Movement and Control System (EMCS) within the online services offered by HMRC (see section 3.3.1) which will allow you to dispatch goods using this system.
6.3 Conditions that may be applied to a registration
All registered consignors must comply with the conditions and restrictions detailed in this notice. In addition, we may apply specific conditions which we will list on your certificate of registration.
Whilst we will only allow an import agent or the warehousekeeper of receipt to be a registered consignor the movement, from the place of release to free circulation to the warehouse, must be covered by a guarantee and this may be provided by either:
- the registered consignor
- the owner of the goods
- the consignee (importer) of the goods
- the transporter of the goods
If you are one of the class of persons who may provide the movement guarantee for movements from the place of release to free circulation to the warehouse and do not currently have a guarantee please see Notice 197 Receipt into and removal from an excise warehouse of excise goods for details on how to apply for a movement guarantee.
6.5 Cancellation of registration
We may cancel your approval at any time. If we do so, then we will inform you in writing and give our reasons for the cancellation. We will offer you a review of our decision or you can appeal direct to an independent tribunal (see section 11). When your approval is cancelled, you must immediately destroy your certificate of registration.
If you wish to cancel your approval you must write to the EPT at least 30 working days before the date on which you require us to act.
If we agree to cancel your approval, we will inform you in writing.
On the date of cancellation you must destroy your certificate of registration.
6.6 Amendment of approval details
If the legal status of your business or company changes (for example, a sole proprietor becomes a partnership), the new legal entity must apply to become a registered consignor. We will not automatically approve the new applicant. In addition, if there is any change in the directors or key personnel of the company, HMRC retain the right to review the approval. Following this review, your approval may be withdrawn or have conditions added.
For any changes to the details contained on your certificate of registration (for example, change of address), you must advise the EPT in writing within 7 days of the change taking effect. We will provide you with a new certificate within 7 days of receipt.
You must destroy the previous certificate as soon as you receive the replacement certificate.
7. Approval to carry out operations in warehouse
7.1 Bulk goods
Providing that we have approved you to receive and store excise goods in bulk and we have not specifically restricted your approval by imposing any conditions or restrictions, you may carry out the following operations on your goods:
- cask rinsing, subject to the warehousing of the contaminated cleaning agent
- denaturing (including vinegarisation)
- disgorging from case to cask, case to vat
- mixing of goods of different sorts
- priming of beer
- racking from cask to cask
- fortifying made-wine
- fortifying wine
- mixing beer or wine with made-wine to produce made-wine
- production of beverages/foodstuff of low alcoholic strength qualifying for duty relief
- rectifying and compounding spirits, for which you will require a separate licence. You will find information about this in Notice 40 Spirits rectifiers and compounders and spirits drawback
- rendering made-wine sparkling (that is, aerating/carbonating made-wine)
- rendering wine sparkling (that is, aerating/carbonating wine).
- reducing spirits
- stabilising and preserving
- vatting or blending and racking into casks or drums
Operators of Motor and Heating Fuel Warehouses should refer to Notice 179 Motor and heating fuels: General information and accounting for Excise Duty and VAT.
In addition, you may incorporate additives providing that you comply with EU and UK legislation (for example, the Alcoholic Liquor Duties Act 1979 (ALDA) in respect of additives to cider) and the quantity used does not affect the Tariff rating of the goods.
You can find more information about tariff classification in the Integrated Tariff of the UK.
The only allowable operations in distillers’ warehouses are:
- bottling of spirits produced at the associated distillery of manufacture only, subject to amendment of the distiller’s warehouse approval
- reducing spirits with water
- filling casks or drums with spirits
- removing spirits in bulk to tanker or by authorised pipeline
- drawing off spirits from unsound casks or pumping direct from casks to a tanker
- emptying casks of spirits into vats for subsequent removal in bulk
- transferring spirits from cask to cask
While we do not class the transfer of spirits from one vat to another as an operation, you must record the details.
7.2 Goods already bottled and packaged
For goods already bottled, providing that we have approved you to receive and store bottled excise goods and not specifically restricted your approval by imposing conditions or restrictions, you may carry out the following operations:
- adjusting and repacking cased goods (including damaged cases), emptying bottles, dividing cased goods
- packing bottled goods from bin storage into cases
- re-labelling bottles
- re-marking or re-numbering packages, including repacked packages
We allow repacking of retail packs of tobacco products provided no disturbance of the tobacco product itself is involved. This means individual packets, tins or pouches of cigarettes or tobacco may be repacked into sleeves or cases but the packets, pouches or tins may not themselves be opened. It follows that cigarettes or hand-rolling tobacco may not be repacked into packets, pouches or tins bearing the fiscal mark. You will find more information about fiscal marks in Notice 476 Tobacco Products Duty.
If you wish to carry out an operation that is not listed above or if you are in any doubt that your action is an allowable operation, you must contact the Excise and Customs Helpline on Telephone: 0300 200 3700, giving full details of the proposed operation. The performing of this operation may require an amendment to your approval.
As an authorised excise warehousekeeper, you should treat imported excise goods the same way as EU produced excise goods. Importers must make sure that they correctly declare the volume and strength of the goods.
7.3 Record keeping
When carrying out any operation in an excise warehouse on duty-suspended goods, you must keep accurate records to allow us to carry out audit checks when we wish. Operators of Motor and Heating Fuel Warehouses should also refer to Notice 179 Motor and heating fuels: General information and accounting for Excise Duty and VAT. You must take and record your accounts immediately before and after each operation, keep an accurate record of any cleaning agent used and advise HMRC about any gains and losses from any operation in warehouse.
You must also make sure that:
- you carry out and record details of the checks carried out on the fill measures and tests of strength
- you check that you have completely drained all empty casks or other containers of bulk alcoholic liquids
- you remove the empty casks promptly from the warehouse
- you measure the alcoholic strength of contaminated agent before you allocate a stock account number
- when rinsing casks, you measure the volume of cleaning agent used before and on completion of the operation
You may mix goods of different descriptions in one case if you make sure that your accounting system enables you to account accurately and satisfactorily for the goods concerned. In particular, you must use the correct tax type and duty rate for each of the products in the mixed case whenever you pay duty. You should contact HMRC if you have any doubts about the adequacy of your proposed system.
For all operations you must:
- record details of any mechanical breakdowns where losses have occurred
- make sure that you take account of and keep secure all remnants from any operation
- keep a separate record of losses (by type) to establish loss patterns
- investigate and record the reasons for any losses or gains outside your established loss patterns
- make sure that all empty packages not intended for immediate reuse are removed from warehouse or placed in packaging materials compartments without delay
- denature or destroy used pads following filtration or other operations
- bring into warehouse only empty packages and quantities of packing materials required for immediate use. You must remove or obliterate any previous identifying marks
For each bottling operation you must:
- take account prior to bottling
- take and record bottle measurements of strength and liquid content
- carry out filling adjustments to make sure that the intended strength and quantity are achieved in practice
- allocate an identifying stock number to filled cases
- balance the operation account
- investigate any losses outside established loss patterns
- investigate all gains during the operation
- complete a declaration of outturn - if more than one size of bottle is to be filled, record the number of cases of each size
- secure any remnant
- complete your stock accounts
- keep a copy of the bottle label used
- make sure you keep a record if you use duty-free spirit for rinsing
Your production records of the strength of bottled excise goods and quantity, in each case, should agree with the strength and quantity shown on the bottle labels.
We may ask you to remove eligible remnants immediately to home use and pay the duty.
7.4 Gains and losses during operations
While we accept that there will be gains or losses from any operation carried out in warehouse, we do not set tolerances or ‘allowable losses’.
It is a warehousekeeper’s responsibility to maintain tight controls on all operations and to accurately record any resultant gains or losses.
Any gain resulting from the operation must be immediately added into the appropriate stock account. Any loss should be recorded and investigated. You will be required to demonstrate that any loss is within your business’s established parameters (taking into account the type of operation, product, machinery, temperature, and so on). If you fail to do this, or your explanation is not accepted by us we may ask you to account for the excise duty. Motor and Heating Fuel Warehouse operators should also read Notice 179 Motor and heating fuels: General information and accounting for Excise Duty and VAT.
7.5 Statements on labels
We reserve the right to object to the use of labels, wrappers, cases or printed matter contained in cases bearing incorrect or misleading statements or words, for example:
- claiming an exclusively British origin for spirits which are shown by the records to be imported spirits, or vice versa
- claiming an exclusively British or an exclusively foreign origin for spirits which are shown by the records to be a mixture of British and imported spirits
- implying, directly or indirectly, that the trader concerned is a licensed distiller when they do not hold a distiller’s licence
- indicating that the spirits are ‘Scotch whisky’ or ‘Irish whiskey’ when the legal requirements relating to these descriptions are not fulfilled
If you print labels in a foreign language, you must provide an English translation on request.
We may require you to provide written clearance from a Trading Standards Officer for the use of any label.
The Food Labelling Regulations contain other requirements for labels on alcoholic drinks. Further information is available from your local Trading Standards Office or from the Food Standards Agency.
The contact details for the Food Standards Agency can be found at the end of this notice.
7.6 Determining strength and volume
In order that the strength and volume of product may be determined for duty and stock control purposes, you must have a system in place that meets the following UK legal requirements:
|Section 2 of ALDA||Spirits and all other products|
|Regulation 31 of the Excise Warehousing (Etc.) Regulations 1988 (EWER)||Spirits, wine and made-wine in bottles or containers|
|Regulations 18 and 19 of the Spirits Regulations 1991||Spirits|
|Regulation 18 and Schedule 4 of the Beer Regulations 1993||Beer|
You may use any recognised method to determine alcoholic strength provided that the results are accurate and the method is used consistently. The method used to settle any dispute will depend on the type of product, for example, for spirit the method used will be the hydrometer referred to in the Spirit Regulations.
You must record alcoholic strength and volume during an operation as accurately as possible, ensuring that you adjust for any obscuration caused by the presence of sweetening, colouring or other ingredients.
During an operation to bottle duty-suspended product in warehouse, you must give prior notice of the intended strength and quantity per case (for example 12 × 40% × 70 cl = 3.36 litres of alcohol), which should be reflected by the strength and quantity shown on bottle labels or other documents.
You should take and record sufficient measurements, during each operation morning and afternoon, of the liquid content and strength with:
- normally, two five-bottle sample measurements for each bottle size
- one strength test (spirits only)
- strength tests of wine.
Make sure that, if you use measuring container bottles (MCBs), the templates are calibrated at intervals of:
- 1 ml (or equivalent in mm) for bottles of less than 35 cl
- 2 ml (or equivalent in mm) for bottles of 35 cl to one litre, inclusive
- 3 ml (or equivalent in mm) for bottles over one litre
and are graduated for the temperature band in which the goods are filled (for spirits, the templates may measure the liquid quantity which, on adjustment for strength, gives the equivalent of 1 ml, 2 ml or 3 ml in litres of alcohol).
You must keep a sample of each bottle label used and any other document which specifies the quantity and strength of the goods.
Also, you must maintain and retain sufficient and indelible records of the measurements taken for six years, to show the trends in bottling performance and the action taken to make sure consistent accuracy in filling.
If the records kept for Trading Standards Officers are inadequate, too complex or provide only uncharted individual measurements, record our measurements on a chart. These are the minimum record requirements of HMRC.
Subject to the requirements set out above, you may adopt any of the accepted methods of measuring and recording set out in the ‘Code of Practical Guidance for Packers and Importers - Weights and Measures Act 1979’. This Department of Trade and Industry publication, known as the ‘Packers’ Code’, is available from The Stationery Office.
The Packers’ Code sets out the number of samples you should take for measurement of volume. You should take a similar number for measurement of strength. You must calculate average strength and volume for each separate operation. You must treat each change of container size or strength fill within an operation separately for the purpose of taking samples.
When recording strength, you should disregard figures beyond the first decimal place. For example, if the average strength resulting from an operation, or separate fills within it, is between 40.01% and 40.09%, record the strength as 40.0%.
You must be able to demonstrate that when measuring strength and volume you make a continuing genuine effort to achieve the strength and volume indicated on bottles or other containers. You should make adjustments, where possible during the operation, recording the actual strength found in the course of testing.
Normally, we will accept the labelled strength and volume as the basis of duty calculations if you can show that you are controlling operations so that:
- you are not aiming to achieve a higher strength than that shown on the label
- if the actual strength exceeds the label strength you take corrective action immediately
We may ask you to pay any additional duty if we find that you have packaged goods at strengths or volumes exceeding those on the labels. Additionally, duty will be called for when:
- there is evidence that you have neglected your responsibilities (for example, continuing to perform operations in ways that create difficulties)
- you have failed to take remedial action after discovering problems or errors
- we find evidence that you have gained a revenue or commercial advantage
You must write to tell us if you have underpaid duty following any operation as we will then advise you as to what you must do.
7.7 Receipt of cash payments for provision of services on excise goods in warehouse
If you (the warehousekeeper) receive payment in cash for the provision of a service relating to duty-suspended alcohol products (that is, spirits and spirits-based beverages, beer, wine, made-wine, cider and perry) exceeding £9,000 (or equivalent in other currencies) you must complete form W7 Notification of cash payments for alcohol goods or alcohol related services in duty suspension, and send it by fax or email to the address on the W7.
It may be commercial practice for customers to pay cash in 2 or more instalments which individually are below the £9,000 notification threshold but the total sale will exceed this amount. In such circumstances you must notify us on form W7 when the first cash payment is received.
This form must be completed in accordance with the notes on the reverse.
For this requirement, an alcohol-related service refers to any service that a warehousekeeper may provide to a customer in relation to duty-suspended alcohol, for example:
- provision of storage facilities
- use of an excise movement guarantee
- affixing, removing or obliterating duty stamps
8. Claims against premises guarantees
Should you incur a liability covered by your premises guarantee, we will, in most cases, issue an assessment and, if appropriate, send a copy of the assessment to the principal to the guarantee.
You will find information about excise assessments in Notice 208 Excise assessments.
We will only claim against the guarantee if you have failed to pay the assessment we have issued within 45 days. In general, we will make a claim against a guarantee when the principal to the guarantee has a liability to us for any irregularity resulting in the loss of duty in relation to excise goods stored in an excise approved warehouse.
If the guarantee covers both premises and movements we will still claim against the guarantee - claims will not be restricted to either premises or movements.
If we make a claim against the guarantee, we will ask the guarantor for payment. You should note that:
- the ‘evergreen’ facility of the guarantee allows automatic restitution of the original level of security where, following the submission of a claim, neither party exercises the right to withdraw
- this will affect any ‘established trader’ discount
- the level of your guarantee does not limit the liability of the debt
If, following the claim against the guarantee, the guarantor gives HMRC 30 days notice of withdrawal from the guarantee, we will require you to lodge a new premises guarantee with us. Unless you are able to provide a replacement guarantor we will cancel your authorisation and approval.
If we decide to lapse your guarantee we will give your guarantor 30 days notice of withdrawal. If we require you to lodge a premises guarantee with us, then, unless you are able to provide a replacement guarantor, we will cancel your warehouse premises authorisation and approval.
9. Excise Warehouse Returns (form W1)
All excise warehousekeepers are required to submit a W1 return, normally on a monthly basis for each set of premises they operate. The only exception to this is for certain trade facility warehouses. Currently, export shop operators, operators of aircraft store floors and operators of Motor and Heating Fuels warehouses (except for those warehouses holding ethanol) also do not have to submit the W1 return. If this exception is removed an amendment to this notice will be made.
Returns must be received within 14 days of the end of each return period. If you fail to submit a W1 return on time this may result in the issue of a financial penalty. If you persistently fail to submit returns it could result in the withdrawal of your authorisation and approval.
You can submit the W1 return on a non-standard period basis but you must first agree these periods with the National Warehouse Return Centre (NWRC) prior to 1 March each year for the following financial year. Non-standard periods must be no longer than 5 weeks and returns must be submitted in accordance with that agreement.
The return is split into 4 sections:
Section A is the warehousekeeper’s declaration that the information you have provided is true and complete. This may be completed by either the proprietor, partner, or, if a limited company, a director or company secretary for that company or an authorised representative.
Section B is the stock return which shows alcohol and tobacco stock movements and stock on hand at the end of the return period.
Section C is for providing information on electronic administrative documents (eADs) as well as duty-suspended dispatches that take place under simplified arrangements and should include details of:
- all duty-suspended dispatches not discharged after 2 months
- reports of receipt/export (for EMCS movements) or certificates of receipt/export (for simplified movements) showing shortages.
Section D is for providing changes to details of registered owners storing goods in the excise warehouse.
You should submit your W1 returns electronically either online or through the XML Direct Submission service available on the HMRC website. These electronic facilities require you to register and enrol for the Alcohol and Tobacco Warehousing Declarations (ATWD) service.
The benefits of using the online service include:
- key information which is pre-populated
- a drop down menu is available for the main registered owners storing goods in your excise warehouse
- the system automatically calculates closing stock
- outstanding eADs are easier to manage as they can be readily discharged
- keyed-in details are validated
- an immediate on-screen acknowledgement confirms that the return has been received
- the service is 24-hour
- previously submitted returns can be viewed online
XML allows you to send the data directly from your computer system to HMRC, removing the need to complete a paper return or re-key the information. It will not allow HMRC to access or interrogate your computer system.
Until a formal announcement is made, you may continue to complete and submit paper W1 returns to the NWRC.
If you fail to submit a W1 return on time this may result in a financial penalty being issued. You can avoid financial penalties by ensuring that your returns are accurately completed and returned to the EPT or electronically submitted to the ATWD service by the due date. If you persistently fail to submit returns it could result in the withdrawal of your authorisation and approval.
The W1 return will be updated to cover reports of undischarged eADs under EMCS.
10 The due diligence condition
10.1 General information
Due diligence is the appropriate reasonable care a company exercises when entering into business relations or contracts with other companies, and how it responds in a deliberate reflexive manner to trading risks identified.
Without effective safeguards in place, there are considerable risks to all businesses along alcohol supply chains of becoming implicated in illicit trading.
This condition requires that all excise registered businesses operating in the alcohol sector consider the risk of excise duty evasion as well as any commercial and other risks when they are trading. Doing so will help to drive illicit trading out of alcohol supply chains, and reduce the risk to businesses of financial liabilities associated with goods on which duty has been evaded.
From 1 November 2014 it becomes a condition of your approval as an excise warehousekeeper, registered owner, duty representative or registered consignor that you must:
- objectively assess the risks of alcohol duty fraud within the supply chains in which you operate
- put in place reasonable and proportionate checks, in your day to day trading, to identify transactions that may lead to fraud or involve goods on which duty may have been evaded
- have procedures in place to take timely and effective mitigating action where a risk of fraud is identified
- document the checks you intend to carry out and have appropriate management governance in place to make sure that these are, and continue to be, carried out as intended
10.2 Assessing risks and carrying out checks
The fraud risks within a supply chain are unique to each business, and objective assessment of the likelihood of your trading activities contributing to fraud is an essential first step to developing effective due diligence procedures. You will need to consider the full range of trading relationships you have established and the potential for fraud in each.
The main risks within the alcohol sector include:
- involvement in the supply of goods for fraud
- receiving goods that have been smuggled or diverted into the UK
- inadvertently facilitating fraud by providing import or warehousing services
A key feature of the smuggling or diversion of alcohol to the UK market is the ability to source product either where the excise duty has been suspended or it has been refunded under drawback provisions. To assess your exposure to this risk you will need to objectively assess if there is potential for duty evasion resulting from your trading activity. You will need to know who you are selling to and where the goods are destined for and understand the market for these products. Without this, there is a risk of supplying goods directly or through a third party into illicit supply chains.
Import and warehousing procedures are often exploited to provide cover for the illicit movement of goods. Fraudsters will seek to distribute duty evaded goods as well as counterfeit alcohol into legitimate retail supply chains. To assess your exposure to this risk you will need to objectively consider whether the supply chain and trading activity is credible which includes knowing who you source goods from and provide a service to.
High level indicators of risk include goods being received from unusually complex or apparently uneconomic supply routes, for example, regular supplies of UK produced goods that have been shipped out to another Member State and then re-imported. If you are sourcing duty paid goods you will also need to consider the credibility of suppliers and the level of evidence you can obtain to demonstrate the provenance and duty status of goods.
Section 10.5 of this notice provides further detail on risk indicators.
Once you have established the main risks of fraud you may be exposed to, your regular checks during trading should be of a type and level sufficient to establish the integrity of the excise transactions and supply chains you are trading in. This level needs to be reasonable and proportionate to the risk.
Depending on the nature of your business and complexity of your transactions, checks will need to be individually tailored. In particular, they must be sufficiently sensitive, yet robust enough, to pick up potential fraud risks. These checks should provide protection from the threat of fraud or you becoming inadvertently involved in fraudulent activity.
As a general rule ‘FITTED’ checks should normally focus on:
- financial health of the company you intend trading with
- identity of the business you intend trading with
- terms of any contracts, payment and credit agreements
- transport details of the movement of the goods involved whether or not you are directly involved in this
- existence/provenance of goods - where goods are said to be duty paid you should normally seek sufficient detail to satisfy yourself of the status of the goods
- The Deal, understanding the nature of the transaction itself, including:
- how the cost of the goods is built up, for example, whether it includes appropriate taxes, transport etc
- why is it being offered
- whether it is too good to be true
- how the deal compares to the market generally
Section 10.6 of this notice provides more examples.
10.3 Responses to identified risks
It is expected that your due diligence procedures will provide effective control over the risks of fraud within your supply chains. Where your checks indicated real concerns, we would normally expect aspects of your supply chain to be changed to address this, eg the supplier or the destination of the goods. However, a decision of whether or not to trade with another party remains a commercial decision for your business to take.
If your checks lead you to suspect duty fraud you should also inform our Customs Hotline. You can contact them by calling Telephone: 0800 595 000 or by completing our secure online form.
You can also notify them by post at:
10.4 Review of due diligence procedures
As part of our enforcement and general audit programmes, HMRC will consider whether or not the steps you have taken to embed anti-fraud due diligence into your trading activity are sufficient and timely to address fraud risks in your supply chains. We will aim to establish whether you have objectively assessed the risks in your supply chain, and you must be able to demonstrate that you have put in place reasonable and proportionate checks and effective procedures to respond to fraud risks when they arise.
If your due diligence procedures are considered insufficient to address fraud risks, we will carefully consider the facts of the case before taking further action, but where appropriate we will seek to support you to strengthen your procedures.
In more serious cases such as a failure to consider the risks, undertake due diligence checks or respond to clear indications of fraud, we will apply appropriate and proportionate sanctions. For serious non compliance, such as ignoring warnings or knowingly entering into high risk transactions, we may revoke excise approvals and licences.
You are also reminded that handling goods liable to excise duty held outside a duty suspension arrangement may cause you to become liable for any excise duty due on those goods and an excise wrongdoing penalty. Any of those goods you currently hold could also be liable to forfeiture.
Sections 10.5 and 10.6 of this notice provide further details on risk indicators and outline some of the checks that you may carry out to identify high risk transactions. Please note these are not intended to be prescriptive or exhaustive. Once you have established the most appropriate due diligence tests for your business, these should be used to test both new and existing transactions and supply chains linked to your business. Some checks may be more appropriate to your business than others.
10.5 Examples of due diligence risk indicators
You should be concerned about a prospective transaction where you identify one or more of the following indicators in both suppliers and customers, the presence of which may lead you to make further inquiries. Please note, this list is not exhaustive:
Financial health of the company you intend trading with
- there is no, or poor, credit ratings but it is still able to finance substantial deals
- there are high levels of debt
- they are buying high value goods on extended credit
- they are a new company with little or no trading history
- there are little or no fixed assets
Identity of the business
- there is a lack of detail about the business’ identity, eg no address details, or HMRC approval number
- they do not appear to be on Companies House records as originally described
- they are dealing in high value goods from short term lease accommodation and/or residential addresses
- there is no general visibility of the company you intend trading with, for example, they do not appear to advertise or have a website
- they have returned only partly completed application or trading forms
- if you are a warehousekeeper, receiving duty suspension goods on behalf of a third party who is not WOWGR registered where they would otherwise be required to be registered
Terms of contract, payment and credit agreements
- an insistence on dealing in cash, especially where the deal is a high value one
- cash payments made using money couriers
- offers of credit appear to be outside normal business practice. Payment terms are normally 21, 31 or 45 days but high risk transactions may have short payment terms eg 48hrs
- you are asked to make payment to an account or person which does not appear to be linked to the seller, or other unusual payment arrangements requested by the seller. The same applies to customers
- a valid pro-forma or purchase invoice is not/will not be provided
- the circumstances of the trading arrangement seem false or contrived. For example, a supplier provides you with the details of a customer for the goods he is selling to you, or offers you a contract with no financial loss to you
The goods are to be received from an unusual source or supply route, for example, UK produced goods are sourced from another country and directly compete with those from a more direct supply route.
Existence or provenance of goods
- the goods are claimed to be duty paid but your supplier (or person on whose behalf you are storing the goods) cannot provide reasonable evidence of duty payment to support the status of the goods. (For further detail about what constitutes evidence of duty payment please refer to our Drawback Notice 207)
- individuals in the company have little knowledge of your trade sector
- where samples are provided or the goods have been received
- for spirits there is no duty stamp in circumstances where there should be one or the duty stamp does not fluoresce (refer to guidance)
- the goods appear counterfeit, in that, the quality of labels and or packaging is poor when compared to the genuine article
- the supporting paperwork seems false
- the goods are older than supporting evidence (such as documents demonstrating duty payment) suggest, for example, the best before dates indicate an earlier production date whereas documentation gives the impression you were buying newer stock
- the company has only been trading for a very short period of time but has managed to achieve a large income in that short period of time
- customer demand for specific brands in other countries exceeds expected levels of consumption there
- The goods are to be moved in an unusual supply route that in itself would add significant logistic costs and bring into question the economics of that trade (unless duty was to be evaded)
- supplies are offered via unsolicited emails or flyers received out of the blue
- goods are offered at incredibly low prices which seem too good to be true
- free gifts of similar or other excise goods not fully documented and in themselves would place a question over the deal as a whole
- there are other incentives such as contingency discounts which overall make the deal sound too good to be true
10.6 Examples of due diligence checks
- obtain, undertake credit checks or other background checks on the business you intend trading with
- where a poor credit rating is identified, establish how the transactions will be funded, what security can be offered that you will be paid?
- where credit is offered by the business, who is providing the credit facility?
- what payment terms are offered and are they commercially viable?
- check company details provided to you against other sources, eg website, letterheads, telephone directories etc
- ask whether your customer or supplier is a member of a relevant trade association
- obtain copies of certificates of incorporation, VAT registration certificates and excise registration certificates where appropriate and where a trade class is quoted on these check whether or not it relates to the type of trade you are engaging in
- verify VAT and excise registration details with HMRC (we recommend that these checks are undertaken regularly for new trading arrangements and proportionately longer for trusted ones, unless you suspect a problem)
- if you are a warehousekeeper receiving duty suspended goods into your warehouse then you should be satisfied that the owner of the goods is registered under WOWGR where required
- obtain signed letters of introduction on headed letter paper and references from other customers or suppliers
- insist on personal contact with a senior official of the prospective supplier and where necessary, make an initial visit to their premises. You should use this opportunity to confirm the identity of the person you intend doing business with and keep a record of your meeting.
- establish what your customer’s or supplier’s history in the trade is. Can this be evidenced?
- Obtain the prospective customer’s or supplier’s bank details. In the case of an import or export, does the supplier or recipient share the same country of residence as their bank?
- establish who you will be paying. Is this the same company as the one you are directly dealing with?
- if you are providing a service who will be paying for it?
Terms of any contracts, payments and credit agreements
- carefully consider the terms of any contracts and credit agreements before entering into these and challenge elements which appear unusual
- what recourse is there if the goods are not as described?
- if payment is to be made to or from a third party, is there a sound commercial reason for this?
- if payment is to be made to or from a third party, is it to or from an off shore account?
- are there normal commercial arrangements in place for the financing of the goods?
- where payment is made from an overseas business how is it to be made?
- has your supplier referred you to a customer who is willing to buy goods of the same quantity and brand as being offered by the supplier?
- does your supplier offer deals that carry no commercial risk for you, for example, no requirement to pay for goods until the payment is received?
- are the goods adequately insured?
- are high value deals offered with no formal contractual arrangements?
- where you are buying from a broker:
- what overall value does this link in the supply chain add?
- is it possible to source more directly?
- how competitive is the broker’s pricing to those from a more direct route?
- how are the savings made in a longer supply chain to make it viable?
- where transactions are being financed by a third party, is this person a regulated financial body such as a bank?
- establish where the goods will be sourced from. Is this the country of production? If not why are the goods being routed in this way?
- who is responsible for the transport? Is the cost of the goods inclusive of transport? If so, does this mean that the potential logistical costs make the unit price unrealistic?
- details of delivery vehicles should be retained and if necessary any variations to expected transport arrangements recorded.
Existence or provenance
- how has the trader contacted you?
- do the goods exist?
- can you inspect the goods before purchasing them?
- are they in good condition and not damaged?
- do the quantities on offer seem credible for the type of business you intend trading with?
- where goods are said to be duty paid, seek sufficient detail to satisfy yourself that they are. This will be easier the closer you are in the supply chain to production. This point is also important where you intend holding goods on behalf of a third party.
- the nature of the transaction, including
- does it just look too good to be true?
- Is the demand for the type of alcohol credible? If the demand is purportedly from abroad what is the real market (consumption) for them in that country?
- if the alcohol has come from abroad but is of UK origin, how did this occur and why?
- where incentives are offered, when these are taken into consideration does this make the overall deal seem too good to be true?
- why is it being offered?
- have normal commercial practices been adopted in negotiating prices?
- how does the price compete with that offered by competitors?
- what is the age of the goods? If the stock is old you should seek an explanation as to its provenance.
- does the price seem realistic? You should be aware of unit cost when duty and VAT values are removed.
- if you are already established in a trading agreement we would also recommend that you continue to monitor correspondence and business paperwork to identify changes in those arrangements and take any follow up action as necessary
11. The review and appeal procedures
When we make a decision that you can appeal against, we will tell you and offer you a review. We will explain the decision and tell you what you need to do if you disagree.
For example with:
- the amount of an assessment
- the issue of a civil penalty
- a decision specifically connected to the relevant duty.
You will usually have three options. Within 30 days you can:
- send new information or arguments to the officer you have been dealing with
- have your case reviewed by a different officer
- have your case heard by an independent tribunal
A review will be handled by a different officer from the one who made the decision. If you prefer to have an independent tribunal hear your case, you must write directly to the Tribunals Service.
If you want us to review a decision, you must write to the person who issued the decision letter, within 30 days of the date of that letter.
We will complete our review within 45 days, unless we agree another time with you.
If you have asked for a review you cannot ask the tribunal to hear your case until the 45 days (or the time we agreed with you) has expired, or we have told you the outcome of the review.
If you are not satisfied with the review’s conclusion, you have 30 days within which to ask the tribunal to hear your case.
If we cannot complete our review within 45 days, or any time we agreed with you, we will ask you whether you are willing to agree to an extension so that we can complete the review. If you do not agree to an extension, the review is treated as concluding that the decision being reviewed is upheld.
We will write and tell you this; you then have 30 days from the date of that letter to ask the tribunal to hear your case. Your request should set out clearly the full details of your case, the reasons why you disagree with us and provide any supporting documentation. You should also state what result you expect from our review.
If you do not want a review you may appeal to the independent tribunal. You need to send your appeal to the Tribunals Service within 30 days of the date on the decision letter.
You can find further information about reviews and appeals in factsheet HMRC1 HMRC Decisions - What to do if you disagree. You can get this factsheet by:
- downloading it HMRC1
- phoning the Revenue and Customs Orderline on Telephone: 0300 200 3610
You can also find more information about how to appeal on the Tribunals Service website or by Telephone: 0845 223 8080.
All HMRC notices are available to download from the catalogue of publications.
12. The Law
You will find the primary legal provisions applicable to the contents of this Notice in:
|Alcoholic Liquor Duties Act 1979||ALDA|
|Customs and Excise Management Act 1979||CEMA|
|Hydrocarbon Oil Duties Act 1979||HODA|
|Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974||ROA|
|Tobacco Products Duty Act 1979||TPDA|
|Value Added Tax Act 1994||VATA|
You will find detailed requirements in:
|The Beer Regulations 1993 (SI 1993/1228)||The Beer Regs|
|The Channel Tunnel (Alcoholic Liquor and Tobacco Products) Order 2003 (SI 2003/2758)||CTO|
|The Cider and Perry Regulations 1989 (SI 1989/1355)||C and P|
|The Denatured Alcohol Regulations 2005 (SI 2005/1524)|
|The Excise Duties (Deferred Payment) Regulations 1992 (SI 1992/3152)||EDDPR|
|The Excise Duties (Goods Imported for Testing, etc) Relief Order 1991 (SI 1991/2089)||Testing Relief Order|
|The Excise Goods (Drawback) Regulations 1995 (SI 1995/1046)||EGDR|
|The Excise Goods (Holding, Movement and Duty Point) Regulations 2010 (SI 2010/593)||HMDP|
|The Excise Warehousing (Etc.) Regulations 1988 (SI 1988/809)||EWER|
|The Hydrocarbon Oil Regulations 1973 (SI 1973/1311)|
|The Revenue Traders (Accounts and Records) Regulations 1992 (SI 1992/3150)||RTR|
|The Spirits (Rectifying, Compounding and Drawback) Regulations 1988 (SI 1988/1760)||SRCD|
|The Spirits Regulations 1991 (SI 1991/2564)||The Spirits Regs|
|The Value Added Tax Regulations 1995 (SI 1995/2518)||VATR|
|The Warehousekeepers and Owners of Warehoused Goods Regulations 1999 (SI 1999/1278)||WOWGR|
|The Wine and Made-Wine Regulations 1989 (SI 1989/1356)||W and WM|
You will find the conditions which cover the warehousing of excisable goods in Council Directive 2008/118/EC OJ: L9, 14.01.09.
|ALDA||Alcoholic Liquor Duties Act 1979.|
|Authorised warehousekeeper||An authorised and registered occupier of an excise warehouse, in accordance with Regulation 3 of the Warehousekeepers and Owners of Warehoused Goods Regulations 1999.|
|CEMA||Customs and Excise Management Act 1979.|
|CHIEF||Customs Handling Import and Export Freight. HMRC’s computerised system for processing import and export declarations|
|Commissioners||The Commissioners for HMRC.|
|Customs warehouse||A place approved by HMRC for the holding of goods on which customs duty and import VAT is suspended.|
|Distillers warehouse||A place approved by HMRC for the holding of spirits immediately following production in the associated distillery.|
|Duty representative||A person authorised and registered by HMRC to act as an agent for non-UK owners of excise goods who wish to deposit goods in a UK excise warehouse.|
|EU||The European Union. You will find a list of the current Member States in the Tariff Volume 1 Part 2.|
|Excise duty||For the purposes of this notice, an indirect tax on certain goods; for example, beer, wine, made-wine, cider, perry, spirits, mineral oil, cigarettes and other tobacco products. Both UK and EU produced and imported goods are subject to Excise Duty.|
|Excise warehouse||A place approved by HMRC for the holding of goods on which excise duty and VAT is suspended.|
|Free circulation||Once import procedures have been completed and any customs duties or similar charges have been paid in an EU Member State, goods from non-EU countries are said to be in ‘free circulation’ within the EU.|
|FSC||The Financial Securities Centre.|
|Guarantee||In the context of this notice, an undertaking given by the guarantor to pay us a sum of money up to the level of the guarantee when we request such a payment. The wording of the guarantee has been agreed by financial institutions and us and includes an automatic restitution facility.|
|Guarantor||In the context of this notice, the person who undertakes to pay to us a sum of money up to the level of a guarantee; for example, a bank or a building society.|
|Importer||In the context of this notice, any owner or other person possessing or having a beneficial interest in the goods between the time of importation and when they are released to free circulation.|
|Initial Period||In the context of this notice, a period of 72 hours, commencing from the time when goods are first deposited in an excise warehouse (excluding Saturday, Sunday, Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year’s Day, Good Friday and Easter Monday).|
|Non-EU||Countries which are not members of the European Union.|
|EPT||The National Registration Unit.|
|Obscuration||The extent to which a hydrometer reading of the strength of spirits is reduced by the presence of sweetening, colouring or other matter.|
|OMS||Other Member State of the European Union.|
|Package||Any bundle, case, carton, cask or other container.|
|Principal||In the context of this notice, the person who arranges for a guarantee and uses it to provide financial security.|
|Registered consignor||A person approved and registered by a Member State’s authorities to dispatch excise goods in excise duty-suspension following their release to free circulation.|
|Registered owner||A person who has been authorised and registered by HMRC to deposit their duty-suspended goods in an excise warehouse.|
|Revenue trader||In the context of this notice, anyone carrying on a trade or business concerned with the buying, selling, importation, exportation, dealing in, or handling of excise goods, and the financing or facilitation of any such transactions or activities. You will find a full definition in CEMA section 1.|
|Tariff||Integrated Tariff of the United Kingdom.|
|Tax warehouse||An EU term for premises approved under the legislation of the Member State in which the premises are located for the:
of excise goods under duty-suspension arrangements. All excise warehouses are tax warehouses.
|Throughput level||The quantity of goods passing through a warehouse.|
|Tobacco products||These products include:
other smoking tobacco
|Transporter||The person carrying out the first transportation of excise goods in a duty-suspended movement.|
|Unit of account||The type or size of packing in which the goods are sold; for example, packets of 20 cigarettes.|
14. Contacting us
In the majority of cases, you should be able to find the information you need on this website. If you cannot find the answer there, your first point of contact should be the Helpline on Telephone: 0300 200 3700.
If you have a problem with the EMCS registration and enrolment process, you should contact the EMCS Online Services Helpdesk on Telephone: 0300 200 3701.
Contact details for other teams or offices mentioned in this Notice
Excise Processing Teams
National Warrant Processing Unit
21 India Street
Telephone: 0300 322 7072 (option 1)
Fax: 03000 516 251
National Warehouse Return Centre (NWRC)
21 India Street
HMRC Excise Liaison Office
21 India Street
Telephone: 0300 322 7072 (option 5)
HMRC Financial Securities Centre (FSC)
21 India Street
Food Standards Agency
1st Floor Aviation House
Telephone: 020 7276 8147
Your rights and obligations
Your Charter explains what you can expect from us and what we expect from you.
Do you have any comments or suggestions
If you have any comments or suggestions to make about this notice, please write to:
Excise Holding and Movement Team
3rd Floor West
3 Stanley Street