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HMRC internal manual

Customs Civil Penalties Guidance

HM Revenue & Customs
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Warning letter: introduction

In most cases we will not issue a penalty notice without first sending the trader a warning letter.

A Compliance officer must complete a Customs Penalty Action Checklist (CPAC), see CCPG26220, to decide whether or not to issue a warning letter.

Where you have done this but remain uncertain about whether it is appropriate to issue a warning letter, seek advice from the CITEX CCP Network.

Your next action will depend on the decision you have reached and the Reason Code for the contravention.

If you decide to issue a warning letter, you must follow the guidance at CCPG26400 which explains how the letter should be completed.

All decisions, whether to issue a warning letter or not, must be agreed by an authorising officer on the CPAC. More information about this can be found in the operational process guidance chapters, CCPG30000 and CCPG40000.

Where the trader has a Customer Relationship Manager (CRM) we must also get their approval before issuing a warning letter.

Whether we decide to issue a warning letter or not, we must retain a copy of the CPAC. If we do issue a warning letter, it could be subject to the statutory appeal and review procedure. This record must contain enough detail to substantiate the decision.

Traders have a right of appeal and review against a warning letter.

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