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HMRC internal manual

Excise Assessments Interim Guidance

Making and notifying assessments: definition of when assessment is made

Although there is no legal definition of what ‘an assessment has been made’ means, the courts have interpreted the law to mean that an assessment is made once you have finished calculating the amount of duty due and a final decision to assess that amount has been taken. The documentary evidence of having made an assessment may be, for example, the signed and dated schedules.

This is normally considered to be when the amount has been

  • quantified
  • documented
  • checked
  • signed and dated.

The raising of a Form EX 601, the document used to notify an assessment, is a consequence of the decision to assess, rather than the actual ‘making’ of the assessment itself.

Often, however, the EX 601 may be the only documentary evidence of the making of an assessment and the date it was completed may have to be relied upon to show when an assessment was ‘made’. The EX 601 should normally be completed on the same day as the assessment is made or shortly thereafter.

Example of a ‘made’ date

There may be occasions where an amount has been quantified, documented, checked, signed and dated on a separate schedule, but not yet transferred onto a Form EX 601. If you took the final decision to assess the amount calculated at the time you signed and dated the schedule, the assessment was made at that time and not when the EX 601 was completed.