Where a revenue trader has paid excise duty to HMRC, which was not due to them, then HMRC are liable to repay that amount of duty. This right to recover overpaid duty became law in December 1995 and is provided for by section 137A of the Customs and Excise Management Act 1979 (CEMA).
This right to the repayment of excise duty was extended by Schedule 3 of the 2001 Finance Act (Sch3 FA01) to include situations where a person has paid excise duty, as a direct result of “Official error” or “delay”.
Under both provisions, repayment by HMRC of the excise duty is subject to the submission of a satisfactory claim, which must meet certain conditions.
In the case of claims made under section 137A of CEMA, HMRC may refuse repayment if the claimant would be unjustly enriched.