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HMRC internal manual

Customs Civil Penalties Guidance

Customs Civil Penalties Guidance: reviews and appeals against warning letters and penalty decisions

A trader has the right to

  • ask for a review of our decisions or
  • appeal to the independent tribunal.

A trader can ask for a review of a decision

  • to issue a warning letter
  • to charge a penalty or
  • on the amount of a penalty.

They can decide to appeal directly to the tribunal without a review.

It is important that a trader sends a request for a review to the correct address dependent on the issuing party. If it is not sent to the correct address, there could be a delay in HMRC or Border Force dealing with the review.

NOTE. If they ask for a review they cannot appeal to the tribunal until they receive the review decision.


If the trader decides they want a review of an HMRC decision, they should write to the issuing officer within 30 days of the date of the warning letter or penalty notice, see ARTG3090.

  1. If new information or argument is provided this will be dealt by the issuing/decision making officer in accordance with ARTG4630. If it is sufficient to resolve dispute, then they should take any action needed to close the case.
  2. If a review is still required, the R&L Submission template should be fully completed by the decision maker and sent with all relevant documents to the “Appeals 5 Sols Group Mailbox (SOLS)” without delay.
  3. The decision maker should send the R&L submission template to the address above – identifying the category as “Customs” in the subject bar of the email.

The time limit for carrying out the review begins when we first receive the customer letter accepting the offer of a review ARTG4690

The issuing  officer must inform the CCP Network of any reviews and appeals they receive against Customs Civil penalties.

If a trader decides they want a review of a decision issued by Border Force they must write to the address below within 30 days of the date of the warning letter or penalty notice. The trader must state why they disagree with the decision.

Border Force Reviews and Appeals
Ebrington Street

If the trader does not want a Border Force review but wants to appeal against the decision, they must write directly to the Tribunals Service as per the links in the Appeals section below.


If the review officer upholds the decision to issue the warning letter or charge a penalty, they will explain in their review conclusion letter how the trader can appeal to the tribunal.

Guidance for traders on HMRC’s appeals and review arrangements can be found in ‘How to appeal against an HMRC decision - indirect tax (GOV.UK website)’ or HMRC 1 (GOV.UK website) ‘HMRC decisions - what to do if you disagree ‘. Appeals will normally be to the First Tier Tribunal. Further information can be found at ARTG3000.

There is operational guidance on appeals and reviews at CCPG29000.