Assessment powers in particular excise regimes: what is different about these powers
The circumstances in which an excise assessment may be made effectively fall into two categories:
- cases where an amount of excise duty should have been paid at some time before the date of the assessment but no payment was made; and
- cases where it is not possible to point to there having been any liability to make payment before the assessment was made (because, for example, there is no requirement to make a declaration or return).
Assessments to excise duty made under Finance Act 1994 section 12 fall into the first category.
Assessments made under provisions in CEMA or other regime specific legislation fall into the second category. Typically, they deem the amount assessed to be excise duty, by providing that HMRC
‘may assess as being excise duty due from the person concerned an amount equal to the duty that would have been chargeable on …’.
They provide not only the power to assess but also determine the liability in each case.
These are further examples of ‘ascertained’ powers and there is no ‘best judgement’ clause. For more information on the meaning of ascertained please see EAIG2500.