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HMRC internal manual

Customs Civil Penalties Guidance

Penalty notice: considering whether to issue a penalty notice: considering reasonable excuse

The Customs Penalty Action Checklist (CPAC), see CCPG27220, asks you to consider reasonable excuse.

If there is a reasonable excuse for the contravention we should not issue a penalty. You should therefore consider whether there is a reasonable excuse in any case where you are considering issuing a penalty.

Reasonable excuse is discussed in detail at CCPG11700.

If you consider there is a reasonable excuse, you should

  • record your considerations on the CPAC
  • obtain authorisation of your decision on the CPAC
  • notify the trader of your decision about their excuse in writing
  • put a copy of your CPAC in Caseflow.

If you decide that there is not a reasonable excuse, you should continue with the CPAC, explaining the reasons for your decision. Although you do not consider the representations made by the trader to be a reasonable excuse, they may constitute mitigating factors which need to be considered in determining the level of the penalty, see CCPG27330.