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HMRC internal manual

Excise Repayment of Overpaid Duty

Claims for overpaid excise duty: the legal basis for such claims

When a revenue trader overpays excise duty directly to HMRC, we are liable to repay this duty, as long as the revenue trader submits a satisfactory claim.

The relevant legal provisions are contained in section 137A of the Customs and Excise Management Act 1979 (CEMA):

‘137A Recovery of overpaid excise duty

(1) Where a person pays to the Commissioners an amount by way of excise duty that is not due to them, the Commissioners are liable to repay that amount.

(2) The Commissioners shall not be required to make any such repayment unless a claim is made to them in such form, and supported by such documentary evidence, as may be prescribed by them by regulations; and regulations under this subsection may make different provisions for different cases.

(3) It is a defence to a claim for repayment that the repayment would unjustly enrich the claimant.

(4) The Commissioners shall not be liable, on a claim made under this section, to repay any amount paid to them more than four years before the making of the claim.

(5) Except as provided by this section the Commissioners are not liable to repay an amount paid to them by way of excise duty by reason of the fact that it was not due to them.’