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HMRC internal manual

Customs Civil Penalties Guidance

Warning letter: considering whether to issue a warning letter: considering any previous action taken

When completing the Customs Penalty Action Checklist (CPAC), it is important that the compliance officer considers the trader’s

  • level of experience (for example, is this their first intervention?) and
  • compliance history (for example, have they previously received education and advice).

This is important because, for example,

  • if we have not taken any previous action as it is the first time a trader has encountered this process, then providing education may be more appropriate than issuing a Civil Penalty Warning Letter (CPWL),
  • if the previous action was more than two years ago we will treat this as a new contravention or
  • if we have already issued a CPWL about a broadly similar contravention within the last two years then we should issue a penalty, rather than considering a further warning letter.

To check the traders CCP history, review previous intervention reports to establish whether any non-compliance issues were found. You must also contact the CITEX CCP Network team to establish whether the trader has previously been the subject of CCP action.

Once we have checked for previous action and then dependent on what has been done previously, we may go on to either

  • complete and issue CPWL, CITEX officers see CCPG30100, Non CITEX CCPG40010 or
  • complete a penalty notice and issue it.