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HMRC internal manual

Excise Repayment of Overpaid Duty

Claims for overpaid excise duty: How to apply time limits for repayment of overpaid excise duty

The time limits for making a claim are contained in CEMA section 137A (4), which provides that:

‘(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.’

For example, this means that when a revenue trader is making a claim under CEMA section 137A for excise duty that was declared on a return, the four year rule does not run from the end of the prescribed accounting period for that return, or when the return was rendered to us, but rather from the time that the excise duty declared on that return was paid.

So long as the amount wrongly declared on the return was paid less than four years from the date the claim is made, then the claim would be in time. This means that you must take full account of when the excise duty was paid when considering claims under CEMA section 137A.

The paid date is the date we receive the revenue trader’s cash, cheque or direct electronic transfer payment. Valid claims cannot be made if the amount in question was paid more than four years ago.

For example if a return was “paid” on 31 December 2009, a repayment claim for this return must be submitted by 31 December 2013.

In cases where the amount being claimed is not the subject of a return or prescribed accounting period then the paid date is the date we received the revenue trader’s cash, cheque or direct electronic transfer payment.