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This publication is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/excise-notice-197a-excise-goods-holding-and-movement/excise-notice-197a-excise-goods-holding-and-movement
This notice cancels and replaces Notice 197a (1 October 2012)..
This notice has been amended to:
- delete NAVC and address detail from the Glossary in section 16
- amend ‘Excise, Customs, Stamps and Money (ECSM)’ to ‘Indirect Tax’ in the ‘Do you have any comments or suggestions’ paragraph at the end of the notice
This notice explains the general conditions, directions and requirements for the holding and movement of excise goods (duty paid and duty suspended) within an export shop in the UK. An export shop is an excise warehouse approved under Section 92 of the Customs and Excise Management Act 1979.
Details of how to apply for:
- premises approval
- authorisation as a warehouse keeper
- registration as an owner of duty suspended excise goods in warehouse
are contained in Notice 196.
The general provisions for receipt and removal of duty suspended goods from an excise warehouse are contained in Notice 197.
This notice contains the additional requirements and obligations for warehousekeepers who are export shop operators. Although an export shop can also hold goods liable to customs duty and VAT, this notice deals solely with excise goods (alcohol and tobacco), and should be read in conjunction with Notice 197.
This notice and others mentioned are available on our website at hmrc.gov.uk.
We will provide a warning at the beginning of each page where the notice has the force of law, see example below.
‘The legal basis for excise goods held and supplied from an export shop is “The Excise Goods (Export Shops) Regulations 2000”. Parts of this notice have the force of law under those regulations. These are indicated by being placed in a box.’
The following requirement has the force of law
Review and appeal procedures (from 1 April 2009)
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 3 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.
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 fact sheet HMRC1 HMRC Decisions – What to do if you disagree. You can get this fact sheet by:
- downloading it from our website at HMRC1
- phoning the Orderline on Telephone: 0845 900 0404
You can also find more information about how to appeal on the Tribunals Service website or by Telephone: 0845 223 8080.
2. Other notices you may find useful
|50||Warehouse warning notice|
|196||Excise Goods: Authorisation of warehousekeepers, approval of premises and registration of owners|
|197||Excise Goods: Receipt into and removal from an excise warehouse of excise goods|
|206||Revenue traders’ records|
|209||Civil Penalties: Fixed, geared and daily|
|476||Tobacco products duty|
3. What is an export shop?
An export shop (previously known as a ‘duty-free shop’) is an excise warehouse that is approved to receive and store excise duty-suspended goods intended for sale to passengers travelling on a non-EU flight (known as ‘entitled passengers’). The warehouse approval may contain conditions that allow the premises to receive, hold and sell duty and VAT paid goods to passengers travelling on an EU or UK flight (known as non-entitled passengers).
If a shop does not store or sell any duty-suspended excise goods (alcohol and tobacco), we will not approve it as an ‘export shop’. Any shops selling goods liable only to VAT are known as ‘tax free shops’.
An export shop can only be sited at a customs and excise designated port or airport and is usually located in the departure lounge after security controls. Although the export shop’s storage facility is normally sited within the perimeter of the same port or airport, it does not need to be joined to the retail shop unit (this is known as the Associated Storage Warehouse). Your approval will cover both the area of the actual export shop and the associated storage warehouse only when these premises are sited within the same port or airport. If you wish exceptionally to site the storage facility outside this area, you must request this when seeking approval.
An export shop is approved as a trade facility excise warehouse. Details on how to apply for approval are contained in Notice 196.
After 1 July 1999, all former duty-free shops became export shops.
There are 3 types of export shop, explained as follows:
|If you sell…||then this type of shop…||and…|
|100% of excise goods to entitled passengers||follows the same rules as pre-July 1999 duty free shops. All stocks are received in duty-suspension and sold to entitled travellers for export to a non-EU country,||all sales are duty-free, no payment returns are required.|
|50% or more of excise goods duty-free to entitled passengers||may receive all stock under duty-suspension, and sell that stock to either entitled or non-entitled passengers. If you wish to operate in this way you must apply to join the special payment scheme. This involves you making a monthly advance payment to cover the duty on the goods which will be sold to non-entitled passengers,||you will need to submit monthly returns. See section 10 for more details.|
|Less than 50% of excise goods duty-free to entitled passengers||may only receive excise goods in duty-suspension for intended sale to entitled passengers. You can only receive duty-paid stock for all remaining sales to non-entitled passengers,||as all duties are either paid or free at the point of sale, no payment returns are required.|
4. Receipt of goods into the export shop
Your premises approval letter will show the type of goods that can be received in duty suspension. Unless you hold a special payment approval, you cannot receive and store excise duty-suspended goods intended for sale to non-entitled passengers (travelling to EU or UK destinations). You must receive these goods into your export shop excise duty-paid.
Notice 197 details our requirements for receiving duty paid and duty suspended goods into your warehouse.
If you store or intend to store tobacco products you must read Notice 476 Tobacco products duty and Notice 196, and ensure that your warehouse approval includes tobacco products.
You can only receive UK duty-paid tobacco products bearing a fiscal mark for retail sale to passengers travelling to EU or UK destinations. Tobacco products bearing fiscal marks cannot be exported to a non-EU country since the fiscal mark must be obliterated or destroyed before the goods are exported. You will find more information about this in Notice 476 Tobacco Products Duty.
5. Sales of goods from an export shop
5.1 Who can buy my excise goods?
|Status of goods||Persons eligible|
|Excise duty-suspended goods||entitled passengers (travelling to non-EU destinations), or
working crewmembers travelling to non-EU destinations (see paragraph 39.6).
|Excise duty-paid goods||passengers travelling on all flights
working crewmembers travelling on all flights (see paragraph 39.6), or
entitled port or airport staff (see paragraph 39.5).
Before passengers can purchase goods from your export shop, they must produce a transport document (Excise Goods (Export Shop) Regulations (ESR) r 8(4)).
You must provide your customer with an invoice or till receipt for each sale, which must show the following details:
- voyage or flight number and date
- number of units sold
- total value of goods
- individual transaction number
- stock or product number
You must make sure the till roll forms part of your accounts.
If you are not approved to use computerised accounting, we may ask you to provide flight sheets listing the:
- flight number
- invoice number
Flight sheets with sales invoices and till receipts will form part of your auditable records.
If you are approved to use computerised accounting we will not require flight sheets.
At the end of each day you must summarise all sales under each agreed stock number. This will form part of your accounts.
Important note: If you sell duty-paid goods to entitled passengers, you must make sure your system can separately identify the duty and VAT payment. The passenger’s flight number will automatically indicate duty-free sales.
5.2 Sales of duty-free goods to entitled passengers transiting another airport
These entitled passengers (travelling to a non-EU destination), must:
- hold a single valid through ticket for the whole journey (for example: Manchester to New York via London), and
- depart the transiting airport within 5 hours of arrival (scheduled time of arrival and departure printed on the ticket)
Ignore boarding cards in these circumstances, since airline and security procedures require separate boarding cards for each leg.
If a passenger holds 2 separate tickets for a non-EU journey (for example: Manchester - London, then London - New York), and you are the first airport of departure, do not sell duty-free goods to that passenger. We consider this type of passenger is making 2 separate journeys, and the first is a domestic one.
Remember: you carry the liability for any duty and tax due on any ineligible duty-free sales.
5.3 Sales of goods to general aviation passengers
As general aviation aircraft operate private flights carrying non-fare paying passengers, they will not hold a recognised commercial transport document. Some airport authorities may arrange to issue these passengers with alternative evidence of entitlement, specifically to purchase goods in the export shop. This may take the form of a shopping voucher. When these alternative arrangements apply, you must make sure your staff:
- recognise these vouchers
- know when they are valid, and
- when passengers are entitled to use them
General aviation passengers have the same entitlement as commercial passengers. They can purchase duty-free goods when travelling to a non-EU destination or duty-paid goods for all other journeys.
We may ask you to satisfy us that your arrangements make sure these passengers carry any duty-free purchases onto the relevant outward flight.
5.4 Sales of duty-paid tobacco products bearing fiscal marks to non-EU passengers
You will find more information about this in Notice 476 Tobacco products duty.
5.5 Sales of goods to staff working at the port/airport
Sales may be made to working staff providing all goods sold to staff are supplied from duty-paid stock. You cannot use the export shop’s duty-suspended stock even on payment of all duties and tax.
5.6 Sales of excise goods to crew
It is the port or airport authorities’ decision on whether these persons are allowed to enter the departure lounge area. However, the following rules apply:
|Status of goods||Each crewmember must…||Your action|
|Excise Duty-suspended goods.||qualify for duty-free entitlement by being part of a working crew travelling to a non-EU destination. Unlike entitled passengers they will not hold any normal transport document (see paragraph 16).||You must be satisfied that the alternative evidence crewmembers produce to identify their flight or voyage details and date of travel is valid.|
|Excise duty-paid goods.||possess satisfactory evidence of their flight or voyage details and date of travel.||Confirm their evidence is valid.|
You should keep a note of these sales in your records, as we may ask you to demonstrate that your procedures are satisfactory.
6. Transport document
The legal basis for specifying the type and description of a transport document is in Regulation 8(4) of the Excise Goods (Export Shops) Regulation 2000. The paragraph below has the force of law under these regulations and is indicated by being placed in a box.
A valid transport document is:
The following requirement has the force of law
- a boarding card
- airline ticket
which must include the:
- date of flight/voyage
- departure or boarding time
- flight/voyage number
- final destination
Do not accept a transport document:
- which does not show the current date, departure or boarding time
- where the flight/voyage has already departed
The normal transport document is the boarding card. However, if you have any doubts that the passenger is genuine, ask to see alternative documents (such as their airline ticket and, if necessary their passport). Separate rules apply for passengers transiting another airport.
Unacceptable boarding cards
Some economy airlines are producing re-useable plastic boarding cards. These are unacceptable as valid transport documents because they do not show:
- the current date of travel
- flight number
- time of departure or boarding time
- final country of destination
They may also include manuscript information that the passenger can change.
In these circumstances, you must inspect the passenger’s airline ticket before making any sales.
Where the passenger does not hold an airline ticket, they must produce a valid alternative document (for example, duty-free shopping vouchers). Although the supply of these shopping vouchers are a commercial arrangement (provided by either the airline or airport authority), you must confirm that their use meets our approval. You must also make sure your staff can recognise that they are valid.
Remember, you carry the liability for any Excise Duty due on any ineligible duty-free sales.
7. Removals other than sales
7.1 Removal of excise goods from my export shop under duty-suspension
You can carry out this type of removal providing you are:
- moving goods to another export shop within the same airport, and are the authorised warehousekeeper of both shops
- returning goods back to the general storage and distribution warehouse that originally supplied them
- removing excise goods for a specific purpose, which must carry our approval in each case
You will find full details on the procedures for removing excise goods in duty suspension in Notice 197. You should be aware of the limitations of your trade facility warehouse approval before you remove goods in duty suspension.
7.2 Removal of excise duty-suspended stock for promotional purposes
You must obtain specific authorisation from HMRC. Include full details with your request giving the reason for the removal (such as, photographic or publicity). After authorisation, you must provide a full audit trail within your records. See also section 15.
8. Pre-ordered goods
Passengers can order goods from the export shop personally, by phone or electronic means (for example, the Internet). You should advise passengers that when they collect their goods on the day of travel, they must produce a valid transport document to prove their entitlement.
Entitled passengers (travelling to a non-EU destination) may pre-order excise duty-free goods, but they can only collect them on the outward journey on the date of travel. Duty-free goods must accompany the entitled passenger when leaving the UK.
Important note: entitled passengers cannot collect duty-free goods after returning to the UK.
8.1 Pre-ordered duty-paid goods
Duty paid sales can be made providing your accounting system can separately identify that the sale is duty-paid. This is particularly important, since the passenger’s flight number will normally trigger a sale. If you are in any doubt, contact the HMRC Excise Helpline to confirm your proposed system is satisfactory. Passengers may leave pre-ordered excise duty-paid goods for collection after their return to the UK. You may hold these goods within your warehouse awaiting collection by the passenger after their return to the UK only if your approval allows the storage of duty paid goods.
Important note: this facility is not available for duty-free goods.
8.2 What procedures must I follow when a passenger collects pre-ordered duty-paid goods?
|Before releasing the goods you should…||you must…||the passenger must…||which must include…|
|ask the passenger for acceptable identification||make sure that the person collecting the goods is the same person who originally placed the order||produce sufficient documentary evidence to support their entitlement||evidence of a valid transport document, proving they made the intended journey|
Where the original order was made electronically or by phone, you must inspect and enter details in your records of the transport document produced at the time the goods are collected.
8.3 Can a passenger collect pre-ordered duty-paid goods from a different port or airport on their return to the UK?
Yes, but the passenger must satisfy you that they will genuinely return to a different port or airport. Establish this by inspecting the passenger’s ticket. You must make sure that the export shop at that port/airport is prepared to provide the goods, before accepting the sale.
If the passenger cannot personally collect the pre-ordered goods and you are satisfied with the explanation given, you may permit another person to collect them on the passenger’s behalf. You will need to inspect sufficient documents to satisfy yourself that the original passenger did actually travel and that the representative is genuine.
You must keep a record of the:
- name and address of the original passenger
- circumstances that made it impracticable for the original passenger to collect the pre-ordered goods in person, and
- name and address of the person acting as the original passenger’s representative
(ESR. Schedule (8))
You should include details of documents inspected, or confirmation from the airline, that the original passenger actually travelled. Keep all these records as part of your accounts which must provide a satisfactory audit trail.
9. Excise Duty points
9.1 Excise Duty point for an export shop
It is the time when goods first become liable to Excise Duty, which occurs at the time they are deposited into the export shop’s storage facility. This Excise Duty point also applies to most tobacco products, other than ‘fine’ cigars.
If an export shop is approved to use the special payment arrangements, the Excise Duty point occurs at the point of sale (the till), although the duty is pre-paid monthly.
The Excise Duty point does not apply when excise goods are:
- sold duty-free to entitled passengers (travelling to a non-EU destination)
- removed to another export shop in the same port or airport
- returned to the original supplying general and distribution excise warehouse
- removed under special conditions approved individually by us
Providing you follow the correct removal procedures, these goods will retain their duty-suspended status.
10. Special payment arrangements
The legal basis for excluding certain excise goods from the special payment arrangements is in Regulation 7(3) of the Excise Goods (Export Shops) Regulation 2000.
The special payment arrangements allow an export shop operator who sells 50% or more of excise goods to entitled passengers (travelling to a non-EU destination) to:
- receive and store all goods within his export shop under duty suspension
- delay the Excise Duty point until the point of sale, although an advance payment is necessary each month, and
- after deduction of the advanced payment, pay any additional Excise Duty due by direct debit up to 10 days after the end of the accounting period
To apply for special payment arrangements you must:
- write to HMRC asking for approval
- include details of your proposed monthly advance payment and
- set up a separate bank account with direct debit facilities, for use in paying any additional excise duty due at the end of each accounting period
- confirm your approval in writing, and
- send a copy of this approval to the Accounting Centre
The Accounting Centre will send a direct debit mandate form for your completion.
If you wish to make changes to the approved arrangements, you must notify us immediately.
Excise goods excluded from the special payment arrangements are identified in the box below:
The following requirement has the force of law
All tobacco products, except ‘fine cigars’ defined as:
- non-machine manufactured
- wrapped in natural leaf (not reconstituted tobacco)
- stored in humidors (where provided)
- retailed at a minimum of £3.00 per cigar, and
- originating in a non-EU country
If HMRC does not approve the application for the special payment arrangements, we will write to you giving our reasons. Without this approval you must segregate all your duty-suspended and duty-paid stock under the co-storage procedures.
If HMRC withdraw your special payment arrangements, we will write to you giving our reasons, such as irregularities connected with your payments or returns (Regulation 12(5) of ESR). Where this occurs you must immediately pay any Excise Duty due on goods held in duty-suspension and intended for sale to non-entitled passengers. You must calculate all Excise Duty due at the excise duty point, and follow the payment procedures outlined in Notice 197.
You will need to complete a final return form at the end of your last accounting period. You should forward the return to the Accounting Centre in the normal way.
HMRC will not approve any changes to your special payment arrangements during an accounting period, unless there are exceptional reasons.
Where this is unavoidable, we would require you to calculate all excise duty due up to the point of change.
The advance payment
This is a sum you must pay at the beginning of each calendar accounting period. It represents an agreed estimate of the Excise Duty due on sales to non-entitled passengers (travelling to EU or UK destinations), during that same month.
Before you make your first advance payment, you must contact HMRC to agree a monthly sum. Base your estimated figure on average monthly sales to non-entitled passengers over the past 12 months.
Once agreed, HMRC will write to you approving the advance payment. It will remain fixed for 12 months with all future reviews normally taking place annually.
If you are a new trader, calculate the advance payment under the procedures set out below:
|You will need to…||After 6 months you must…|
|agree an estimated projection of duty-paid sales with us.
We will fix this agreed figure for 6 months.
|review this figure by calculating the average monthly sales to non-entitled passengers over the previous 6 months trading. Contact us for agreement and re-approval of any adjusted figure. Normally, all future reviews will take place annually.|
If you cannot agree a monthly advance payment figure with HMRC, you must base the advance payment figure on the total Excise Duty due on all excise goods held in your export shop, on the day you make your return.
Providing you give HMRC a month’s notice and they agree the new figure, the monthly advanced payment can be varied.
We can both vary this agreement at any time, but both parties must agree any new payment figure.
You will only make regular monthly payments if you are operating the special payment arrangements.
At the end of each accounting period (calendar month), calculate the total Excise Duty due from sales to non-entitled passengers (travelling to EU or UK destinations) over the previous month. On receipt of your completed return form, the Accounting Centre will collect all excise duties due by direct debit from your designated bank account.
Each accounting period covers 1 calendar month. HMRC will not authorise any alternative accounting periods.
The address and phone number of the Accounting Centre is:
St Mungo’s Road
Telephone: (0151) 703 1372 or 1369
You must make payment on or before your payment date, which is the same day as your return date (tenth). You must make sure you have sufficient funds in your designated bank account from that date to cover the duty due for that accounting period. Once your return has been processed, we will claim the relevant amount by direct debit.
If you have any problems connected with your direct debit banking system or your account, contact the Accounting Centre immediately with all relevant details. They will advise you of the alternative arrangements.
11. Special payment returns
The legal basis for using a specified return form is in Regulations 14(4) and (5) of the Excise Goods (Export Shops) Regulation 2000.
The Accounting Centre will send you a return form automatically each month. This will show:
- your export shop details
- the due date of the return and
- your advance payment
If you do not receive a return form, advise the Accounting Centre immediately.
You will need to quote your Payment Reference Number which you will receive from the Accounting Centre as part of your special payment approval.
To complete a return you will need to enter the:
- correct tax type code for each stock (see Volume 1, Part 12 of the Tariff – see Glossary)
- number of litres of alcohol within each tax type
- total weight of ‘fine cigars’
- rate and amount of Excise Duty for each tax type
- advance payment due and
- the previous month’s advance payment
To calculate the total duty due you should:
- total the amounts of duty payable on all tax types
- add the ‘Advance Payment Due’
- subtract the ‘Previous Month’s Advance Payment’ then
- enter the total in the ‘Total Duty due’ box
The following requirement has the force of law
Send your monthly return to the Accounting Centre.
|You must send your monthly return to the…||If the tenth day of the month falls on…|
|Accounting Centre, to arrive on or before the tenth day of the month following the accounting period (calendar month).||Saturday, Sunday, Good Friday, or Easter Monday, use the next day that is not one of these days.
No other Bank Holidays affect the due date.
If you have a special payment arrangement you are legally obliged to complete a return every month, even if the figure in the ‘Total Duty Due’ box is nil. Normally the figures in the ‘Advance Payment Due’ box and the ‘Previous Month’s Advance Payment’ box will be equal.
Please contact the Accounting Centre for more information on the submission of electronic returns.
HMRC will contact you if your return is late. If you continue to submit late returns we may take measures to improve your compliance, or decide to withdraw your special payment approval. The excise assessments and penalties procedures as described in Notice 208 Excise assessments and Notice 209 Civil Penalties: Fixed, geared and daily, will apply.
When you cease to trade you should show on your last return, ‘nil’ in the ‘Advance Payment Due’ box and complete the ‘Previous Month’s Advance Payment’ box. HMRC will refund any balance after agreeing it is correct and deducting any other duties you owe us.
12. Customs Duty
Customs duty-free sales can be made to entitled passengers (travelling to a non-EU destination). These goods must accompany the entitled passenger to their destination outside the customs territory of the EU.
Important note: Unless your premises are separately authorised as a customs warehouse, you cannot hold customs duty-suspended stock in your export shop. To apply for customs warehouse authorisation, send an application for a customs warehouse authorisation or Local Clearance Procedure (LCP) to your local customs office. The customs warehouse application is in Notice 232 Customs Warehousing. LCP is one of the Customs Freight Simplified Procedures.
You can sell customs duty-suspended goods to non-entitled travellers but you must note these sales in your records at the point of sale. This must show that you made the sale to a non-entitled passenger (travelling to an EU or UK destination) and that you will account for any Customs Duty and import VAT payable. To operate this arrangement, you must obtain a LCP authorisation.
Excise goods are considered to be in free circulation after paying Customs Duty on warehoused non-EU goods. When goods are in free circulation you can continue to warehouse them under excise duty-suspension in your export shop. However, you should note your stock records with the serial number and month of form C88 including the date when you paid the Customs Duty.
You can sell customs duty free goods only if your export shop is also approved as a customs warehouse. The same conditions covering pre-ordered excise goods also apply to customs goods.
To move customs duty-suspended goods to a different location you can either:
- include the new location into your customs warehouse authorisation (you will need to note the change of location in your records)
- authorise it as a separate customs warehouse (you will need to apply for the inter-warehouse transfer arrangements – see Notice 232 Customs warehousing)
13. Tax-free Shops
Although a tax-free shop is normally sited within a port or airport after security controls, it is not an excise warehouse and cannot stock or sell excise goods. However, it can sell zero-rated VAT products for export to entitled passengers (travelling to non-EU destinations).
All stock held must be in customs free-circulation, unless the shop is separately authorised as a customs warehouse. An alternative to customs warehouse authorisation is the operation of Inward Processing Relief (IPR). You can obtain more information on IPR trading from the Helpline.
You do not need a tax free shop authorisation but you should contact us to discuss your payment arrangements under the Special VAT Retail Schemes. VAT Notice 727 explains the accounting procedures for tax-free shops. You may run a tax free shop within the export shop providing you correctly follow the separate VAT accounting arrangements, and the excise warehouse approval allows for co-storage (see Notice 196).
14. Delayed, cancelled or put-back flights or voyages
Immediately you learn of a delayed or cancelled voyage or flight, you must stop selling any further goods to those passengers. We expect you to secure all purchases on behalf of the passengers who intend to leave the port or airport. You will need to either:
- suitably identify and keep the goods under secure conditions for later collection and exportation by the passengers
- use any arrangements previously agreed by us
Any duty-free products you hold on behalf of the passenger, but not collected after the flight or voyage has departed, should be re-warehoused and the sale cancelled. You may refund money to any passenger making a claim. This is known as a ‘buy-back procedure’.
We may wish to examine the circumstances concerning any ‘buy back’ procedures and will consider each case on its merits. However, if we are not satisfied that you have followed the correct procedures, we may ask you to pay duty and VAT on any deficiencies.
You do not need to take any action with duty-paid goods, other than keeping a record of any delayed or cancelled voyages or flights.
Put-back aircraft or vessels are flights or voyages that may have to return to their original port or airport of departure, without reaching the intended destination. It is the airline or ferry operator’s responsibility to supply details for our investigation if requested.
If you have sold duty-free goods to passengers on any put-back vessel or aircraft, use the same secure/refund procedures for delayed or cancelled voyages or flights.
Passengers must export all duty-free purchases intact. It is your responsibility to make sure there are sufficient notices within your shop premises to advise passengers of this requirement. If your staff observe any passenger opening a package, they should tactfully remind the passenger of the restriction and offer to reseal it.
If during a ‘buy back’ situation a passenger hands you an opened package, advise the passenger to proceed to the Customs ‘Red Point’ which is located at the port or airport’s ‘Arrivals’.
You are not required to:
- collect duty and VAT on the opened package
- return the goods into your stock for disposal
Before allowing the passenger to proceed with the goods, take details of the sale. This should include:
- the product, and
- invoice or till receipt number
Keep these details as part of your records for audit purposes.
15. Miscellaneous questions
15.1 Lost property
Where duty-free goods purchased from your export shop are left in the departure lounge and returned to you by another passenger or a member of the port/airport staff, you should:
- accept the goods
- cancel the original sale
- re-warehouse them back into your duty-suspended stock, and
- consider refunding money to any passenger’s claim
You are not required to handle or store returned duty-paid goods. You should arrange to have these passed onto the port/airport’s lost property office.
15.2 Sales promotions
You may undertake sales promotions within the export shop only if you:
- notify us before the promotion starts
- supply any samples for consumption from duty-paid stock, and
- satisfy us that these samples cannot be mistaken for duty-free products
HMRC normally allow static advertising displays within the export shop, but this material must not cover-up any of our signs or notices.
15.3 Common lounges
These are areas within ports and airports to provide a common holding area for both domestic and international passengers. It is situated after the security checkpoint but prior to any Customs or Immigration controls (if provided). Common lounges are the responsibility of the appropriate port or airport authority and separately approved by HMRC. You will not be involved in this approval.
|Approved place||A place approved by the Commissioners within a port or airport in the UK, for the collection of pre-ordered goods.|
|Authorised warehousekeeper||An approved and registered occupier of an excise warehouse (export shop), under regulation 3 of WOWGR.|
|CEMA||The Customs and Excise Management Act 1979.|
|Commissioners||The Commissioners of HM Revenue and Customs.|
|Customs Duty||An indirect tax on goods imported from outside the EU. The duty includes:
protective charges raised under the common customs tariff of the European Communities
charges having the equivalent effect and agricultural levies and
other charges provided for under the common agricultural policy.
|Customs warehouse||A system or place authorised by the customs authority for the storage of non-Community goods, under customs duty and/or import VAT suspension.|
|Customs and Excise warehouse||A warehouse separately authorised by the Commissioners for:
the deposit of goods liable to Customs duty under EC Regulations 2913/92 and 2454/93 and
excise duty under CEMA Section 92.
|Entitled passenger||A person travelling by sea or air to a country outside the fiscal/customs territory of the EU and in possession of a valid transport document.|
|ESR||The Excise Goods (Export Shops) Regulations 2000|
|EU||The European Union (see list of countries at section 18).|
|Excise Duty||An indirect tax on beer, wine, made-wine, cider, perry, spirits, cigarettes and other tobacco products. The tax applies to both UK-produced and imported goods.|
|Excise warehouse||A warehouse authorised by the Commissioners under CEMA section 92(1) for the deposit without payment of duty of goods liable to excise duty.|
|Export shop||An excise warehouse approved for the supply of excise goods to entitled passengers without payment of excise duty, under Regulation 3 of the Excise Goods (Export Shops) Regulations 2000.|
|Free circulation||Once import procedures have been completed and any customs duties or similar charges have been paid in a EU Member State, goods from non-EU countries are said to be in ‘free circulation’ within the EU.|
|Flight sheets||A duplicate list completed by the export shop operator for each flight, identifying sales to passengers by invoice number and date.|
|General aviation||Privately owned aircraft carrying non-fare paying passengers.|
|Non-entitled passengers||A person in possession of a valid transport document, travelling by sea or air to a country within the fiscal territory of the EU or an internal flight within the UK.|
|Principal||A person who arranges the guarantee and uses it to provide financial security.|
|Proprietor||In relation to excise goods this term includes any owner, importer, exporter, shipper, or other person owning or being beneficially interested in the goods.|
|Tariff||Integrated Tariff of the United Kingdom. This is available from Her Majesty’s Stationery Office or Office of Public Sector Information website|
|Tax warehouse||A EU term for premises authorised under UK legislation for the:
of excise goods under duty-suspension arrangements. All Excise and Customs and Excise Warehouses are Tax Warehouses.
|Tobacco products||These include:
other smoking tobacco and
|Trade facility warehouse||An excise warehouse where approval restricts the activities specifically to the needs of the export shop. This type of warehouse does not require the qualifying criteria of a general storage and distribution warehouse.|
|Unit of account||The type or size of packing in which the goods are sold. For example packets of 20 cigarettes.|
17. Example of a special payment return
18. EU Member States
The current Member States of the EU are:
- Cyprus (in accordance with Act of Accession)
- Czech Republic
- Slovak Republic
- United Kingdom (includes Isle of Man)
The Customs Territory includes all these states and some of their dependent territories.
For excise purposes, the Channel Islands and Canary Islands are not included within the EU.
A full list is contained in the Tariff Volume 1, Part 2.
19. The Law relating to Export Shops
|Customs and Excise Management Act 1979||CEMA|
|The Excise Goods (Drawback) Regulations 1995 (SI 1995/1046)||EGDR|
|The Excise Warehousing (Etc.) Regulations 2000 (SI 2000/645)||ESR|
|The Excise Warehousing (Etc.) Regulations 1992 (SI 1988/809)||RTR|
|The Excise Goods (Drawback) Regulations 1995 (SI 1992/3150)||RTR|
|The Value Added Tax Regulations 1995 (SI 1995/2518)||VATR|
|The Warehousekeepers and Owners of Warehoused Goods Regulations 1999 (SI 1999/1278)||WOWGR|
All the above can be viewed on the Office of Public Sector Information website.
Your rights and obligations
Your Charter explains what you can expect from us and what we expect from you. For more information go to Your Charter.
Do you have any comments or suggestions?
If you have any comments or suggestions to make about this notice, please write to:
HM Revenue and Customs
Excise Holding and Movement Team
3rd Floor West
3 Stanley Street
Please note this address is not for general enquiries.
For your general enquiries please phone HMRC Excise Helpline.
Putting things right
If you are unhappy with our service, please contact the person or office you have been dealing with. They will try to put things right. If you are still unhappy, they will tell you how to complain.
If you want to know more about making a complaint go to hmrc.gov.uk and under quick links, select Complaints and appeals.
How we use your information
HMRC is a Data Controller under the Data Protection Act 1998. We hold information for the purposes specified in our notification to the Information Commissioner, including the assessment and collection of tax and duties, the payment of benefits and the prevention and detection of crime, and may use this information for any of them.
We may get information about you from others, or we may give information to them. If we do, it will only be as the law permits to:
- check the accuracy of information
- prevent or detect crime
- protect public funds
We may check information we receive about you with what is already in our records. This can include information provided by you, as well as by others, such as other government departments or agencies and overseas tax and customs authorities. We will not give information to anyone outside HMRC unless the law permits us to do so. For more information go to hmrc.gov.uk and look for Data Protection Act within the Search facility.