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HMRC internal manual

Customs Civil Penalties Guidance

Providing education: types of education available

HMRC’s strategy is to encourage voluntary compliance.

There are various circumstances under which compliance officers provide education and advice to businesses and individuals, rather than taking Customs Civil Penalty (CCP) action. The most common is when a trader makes mistakes when they first use a particular customs procedure or Regime. However, actions must be recorded on a CPAC and referred to a Senior manager for their authorisation.

If as a result of an intervention we feel it is appropriate, we may provide them with education and advice on the procedures and systems they need to have in place to ensure future compliance.

Some of the ways in which we may provide education include

  • providing advice when we attend a trader’s premises to undertake an International Trade intervention. We then confirm this advice in a letter of written instruction
  • providing the trader with leaflets such as What Records Must I Keep and Management Assurance Checks for Importers
  • showing the trader how to access the International Trade website and links to Tariff Classification and International Trade Public Notices via the HMRC Website.

There are situations where providing education isn’t the best approach to ensure compliance. For example, there may be little scope for providing education where

  • it is apparent that an authorised trader is fully aware of their obligations, or
  • it would need to be provided to an agent. Agents provide a recognised specialist service and should therefore have a good understanding of the Customs rules and regulations.

The above is not definitive and judgement should be exercised at all times.