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HMRC internal manual

Duty Free Spirits Guidance

Background: Purpose and application of the law

The law provides the framework for the regime. It defines the scope of the regime, the trader’s obligations and the powers which Parliament has granted the Commissioners to administer and protect the revenue. The Alcohol Team is the Excise branch responsible for policy relating to Duty Free Spirits.

ESM’s strategy for the administration of Duty Free Spirits in the UK, advice on policy and application is contained in Section DFS3000 of this book.

There will, however, be occasions when you will be faced with issues which are not precisely covered by these guidelines. In such cases you will need to consider whether or not a trader’s request or problem can be accommodated within the law.

When searching for a legal provision, or applying what appears to be a relevant provision, you will need to interpret the law. Always bear in mind that:

  • the law states what can, or in some cases, what cannot be done;
  • some legal provisions specify that, in particular circumstances, something is to be done, or a particular procedure is to be followed - these provisions leave no discretion to the Commissioners; and
  • where the law appears to be silent on an issue it is likely that the Commissioners do not have the legal powers to permit it.

We expect that most problems will be resolved locally. However, issues which may affect policy or practices in other parts of the country should be referred to the Alcohol team using the PG1 procedure.