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HMRC internal manual

Customs Civil Penalties Guidance

Customs Civil Penalties Guidance: establishing a contravention of Customs law

Before considering any Customs Civil Penalty (CCP) action, a compliance officer must be able to demonstrate that a particular legal provision has been contravened.

We can only take action where you find a contravention, if we can

  • identify which legal provisions have been contravened (for example, in the Code, Implementing Provisions or other Customs Regulations) and then
  • find the contravention in one of the statutory schedules.

For example, if we identify misdeclarations on the trader’s customs declarations for import as a result of examination of the trader’s records, the legal provisions that have been breached prior to 1st May 2016 are Articles 62 and 77 of the Code, Article 199 of the Implementing Regulation and Section 167(3) of Customs and Excise Management Act 1979. After 1st May 2016 only Section 167(3) of of Customs and Excise Management Act 1979 applies. This contravention is listed in the Schedule of Customs contraventions of a relevant rule, under Reason Code 051.

See the operational guidance from CCPG20000 onwards for what to do when we identify a contravention.

If the contravention identified is not included in a schedule then we may not be able to take CCP action. Where this is the case we must contact the CITEX CCP Network.

They will

  • recommend a particular Reason Code which covers the contravention identified, or,
  • make representations to policy holders who periodically review the current content of the SI Schedules - if we have identified an area of non-compliance which is not currently covered in the SI Schedule.

The schedules of contraventions that can be penalised are shown under