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HMRC internal manual

Excise Assessments Interim Guidance

Time limits for section 12(1) and 12(1A) FA1994 assessments to excise duty: twenty year rule

This time limit extends the four-year rule to twenty years where a person’s conduct involves deliberate behaviour giving rise to a penalty, failure to notify or wrongdoing.

Note that the conduct in question does not have to be that of the person who is assessed.

From 1 April 2011 you can make an assessment up to 20 years from the end of the prescribed accounting period or the date of liability giving rise to a penalty. You can only do this in limited circumstances. Briefly, this is where excise duty has been lost because

  • of deliberate behaviour, or
  • the person has taken part in a transaction knowing that it was part of arrangements intended to bring about a loss of duty of excise, or
  • the person failed to comply with a notification obligation (see the table to paragraph 1 of schedule 41 Finance Act 2008).

For more information see CH53600.