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HMRC internal manual

Customs Civil Penalties Guidance

Customs Civil Penalties Guidance: discretion to take penalty action

HMRC has discretion to take customs civil penalty (CCP) action where a contravention of a legal provision has been identified and it is established that it is included in one of the Schedules, see CCPG11200.

We will consider taking CCP action when there is evidence that a trader has failed to address areas of non-compliance or is continuing to be non-compliant.

However, HMRC are there to help and support those who want to be compliant in their International Trade activity and we will offer support, education and advice to those who have made an error through lack of knowledge or understanding.

So it will not be appropriate in every case to issue a penalty. Although there will be some contraventions where it is appropriate to go direct to a penalty, we will look to see which course of action is most likely to achieve compliance.

These will be one or more of the following

  • to issue a warning letter
  • to issue a penalty
  • to recommend the amendment or revocation of their authorisation
  • to provide education and written instruction
  • take no further action.

There is detailed operational guidance on these options at CCPG24000 - CCPG28000.

There are further technical considerations if we decide to issue a warning letter or penalty notice, including