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HMRC internal manual

Customs Civil Penalties Guidance

Introduction: about this guidance

This guidance is about civil penalties for contravening customs provisions.

Customs Civil Penalties can be issued by compliance staff within Local Compliance, Large Business, the National Clearance Hub, Customs Directorate within Business Tax and Border Force

The guidance is split into

The technical guidance is written for compliance officers and Civil Penalty Officers (CPOs).

The operational guidance is for customs civil penalty work done by Compliance Officers.

There is separate operational process guidance at the end of this manual for those working in CITEX and for staff outside CITEX who do CCP work.

The associated public notice is Notice 301 ‘Civil Penalties for Contraventions of Customs law’.

Civil Evasion Penalties and Criminal Prosecution

This guidance does not deal with Civil Evasion Penalties (CEP) or criminal prosecution. These are covered in Notice 300 ‘Customs Civil investigation of suspected evasion’, the CEP guidance (This content has been withheld because of exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act 2000) .

However, in all cases where a monetary error is identified, Compliance Officers must first consider if there is any reason to suspect conduct involving dishonesty.

Where evasion is suspected, Criminal Investigation and Civil Evasion Penalty (CEP) action must be ruled out before considering Customs Civil Penalty (CCP) action. You should refer to the PN300 Operational Framework for guidance on this process.

In cases where conduct involving dishonesty is not suspected, HMRC may take Customs Civil Penalty (CCP) action and may issue a Civil Penalty Warning Letter (CPWL) or Penalty Notice.