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HMRC internal manual

Customs Civil Penalties Guidance

Warning letter: considering whether to issue a warning letter: example of a decision to use a warning letter

Since beginning to trade 18 months ago, Oliver has made errors on three declarations. A compliance officer spotted the first contravention 12 months ago and provided education to help Oliver understand what he had to do and when. However, on a recent visit the compliance officer found that Oliver had still made errors on two further declarations.

The compliance officer considers the following points.

  • This trader received education and advice at the previous intervention, but this was not followed up with a letter of written instruction.
  • The trader has no history of previous Civil Penalty action. This has been confirmed by checking the CCP spreadsheet. For more information see CCPG26260.
  • This contravention has occurred within this last three year period and the compliance officer’s intervention took place this year.
  • The consideration of Civil Penalty action is appropriate.
  • Oliver was responsible for making the declarations and so he is the person to be warned.
  • The contravention falls within the category of poor compliance.
  • We have previously given education but this has not resulted in good compliance.
  • There are no facts or arguments advanced to suggest that there is a reasonable excuse for the contraventions.
  • Oliver’s business is not substantial enough to have a HMRC Customer Compliance Manager.

The Compliance officer decides it is appropriate to issue a Reason Code 051 warning letter to Oliver, completes the Customs Penalty Action Checklist (CPAC), obtains their managers authorisation of their decision on CPAC and issues the CPWL to Oliver, copying it to CITEX CCP Network.