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HMRC internal manual

Excise Assessments Interim Guidance

Protective assessments: when might HMRC dispute tribunal and court rulings

This is likely to happen when the issue in dispute involves has far reaching implications or a fundamental view of the law may need to be appealed.

The final outcome may have repercussions for a particular type of business or may affect an even broader spectrum of the business population in general. A substantial amount of revenue may need to be repaid or collected.

The relevant ECSM Policy Directorate will normally take the lead. If a case is likely to have a significant impact, then businesses will be advised of how they are affected by the ruling \ judgement by means of a

  • News release
  • Revenue & Customs Brief, or
  • Information sheets and updates published on HMRC’s Internet site.

The information will normally advise businesses how to protect their position by making claims, and how to complete any returns (if applicable) pending the results of litigation.

Officers should acquaint themselves with the latest information and follow any outlined procedures in relation to issuing protective assessments or processing any claims.

If payments of amounts of excise duty due are about to run out of time you should never wait until litigation is exhausted, or until you can access HMRC guidance. You should make and issue an immediate protective assessment in line with this guidance and seek subsequent advice from the responsible Policy Team.

If you do wait, you may find that you are out of time to assess and the opportunity to protect revenue will be lost. A local record should be kept of all protective assessments in order to ensure that they are

  • activated in the event that HMRC ultimately win the lead case, or
  • reduced or withdrawn in the event that HMRC lose the lead case.

It is important that protective assessments are recovered at the earliest opportunity following a successful litigation for HMRC. Due regard should always be given to follow specific advice given by the relevant Policy Team.