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HMRC internal manual

Customs Civil Penalties Guidance

CITEX officers operational process: penalty notice: issuing a penalty notice: further guidance for completing a penalty notice


There are several items that must be included on the penalty notice (C31).

Who to address the penalty notice to

In the case of a single site company, you should address the penalty notice to

  • the Company Secretary or
  • a person of equivalent status at Director level if the position of Company Secretary is not held.

Many national companies, including freight agents, have offices all over the country. In such cases, you should address the penalty notice

  • if the Company Secretary is located at the site at which the contravention occurred, to the Company Secretary, or
  • if the Company Secretary is not located there, to the relevant person at the highest possible level - Director Level or overall Site Manager level - at that site. You should also send a copy of the penalty notice to the Company Secretary at the company’s principal place of business.

Describing the contravention

You should follow the guidance given at CCPG10150 when drafting the description of the contravention.

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Warning on future conduct

You should also make the warning as to future conduct reasonably wide. For example, where the trader has declared an incorrect commodity code, the warning should refer to incorrect particulars in declarations and not be limited to commodity codes.

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Payment details

The third page of the penalty notice sets out clearly the options of how to make payment.

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Including contact details

You should include your contact details (name, address and telephone number) on the first page of the notice in case the trader has any queries about the penalty.