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HMRC internal manual

Civil evasion penalties for Customs, Excise and VAT

Civil evasion penalties for Customs, Excise and VAT: acts and omissions that create liability to a CEP for conduct involving dishonesty: customs

The Customs Civil Evasion Penalty (CCEP) regime was introduced by Sections 24 to 29 Finance Act 2003 and can only be used for offences committed on or after 23 December 2003.

The CCEP regime covers breaches of Community and UK customs law relating to the import and holding or processing of imported goods under customs supervision.

Sections 24 and following make provision for a civil evasion penalty where a person engages in any conduct for the purpose of evading any relevant tax or duty.

The Act defines a relevant tax or duty as:

  • Customs duty
  • Community export duty
  • Community import duty and
  • Import VAT.

Evasion includes obtaining or securing, without being entitled to it

  • any repayment, rebate or drawback of any relevant tax or duty
  • any relief or exemption from, or any allowance against, any relevant tax or duty, or
  • any deferral or other postponement of their liability to pay any relevant tax or duty or of the discharge of payment of any such liability,


and also includes a reference to them evading the cancellation of any entitlement to, or the withdrawal of, any such repayment, rebate, drawback, relief, exemption or allowance.

Customs civil evasion penalties do not apply to excise duties.

The regime does not apply to the importation or exportation of prohibited or restricted items, such as offensive weapons or illicit drugs.

Liability to a civil evasion penalty is separate to and not affected by seizure and restoration of goods.

For further details of this legislation, see CEP3050.