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HMRC internal manual

Holding and Movements Assurance Guidance

From
HM Revenue & Customs
Updated
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Excise duty points: holding of excise goods outside of a duty-suspension arrangement

When goods are held outside a duty-suspension arrangement and UK excise duty on those goods has not been paid, relieved, remitted or deferred, those goods are ‘released for consumption’ in the UK. A duty point arises under regulation 5 of the HMDP Regulations, in conjunction with regulation 6(1)(b). The person liable to pay the duty when excise goods are released for consumption under regulation 6(1)(b) (holding of excise goods outside a duty-suspension arrangement) is the person physically holding the excise goods at that time. Any other person involved in the holding is jointly and severally liable to pay the duty with the person physically holding the goods at the duty point.

The duty point applies at the earliest time you identify that those goods were physically held outside a duty-suspension arrangement. It is not limited to the goods seen during your visit and can include all the goods that were physically held outside a duty-suspension arrangement at an earlier moment in time. Where there is good evidence to demonstrate that a number of other people have physically held those goods outside a duty-suspension arrangement at earlier times, the duty point would be the earliest time those goods were held. The person physically holding those goods at that time is liable to pay duty.

Definition of holding

There is no definition of ‘holding’ given in Council Directive 2008/118 or in the HMDP Regulations. You should keep the concept of holding as uncomplicated as possible and consider this primarily to mean the physical possession of the goods. (This content has been withheld because of exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act 2000) It does not mean simple ownership or title of the goods.

Where goods are no longer physically held by a person, but you believe they were previously held, ‘holding’ in this context would involve a physical holding at that earlier moment in time.

Establishing whether or not goods are duty-paid

To establish whether or not duty has been paid on the goods, you should first ask the trader to provide evidence to demonstrate that the duty has been paid on the goods. (This content has been withheld because of exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act 2000)

(This content has been withheld because of exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act 2000)

Establishing the time when goods are first held outside of a duty-suspension arrangement

Where the goods have passed through ownership or possession of another person in the supply chain, it is possible that someone else in that chain will have held those goods outside of a duty-suspension arrangement at an earlier point in time. The test is whether those goods were physically held at that time by another person. In this context, we consider this to include possession and access to those goods and control over their physical movement. This could include the operator of a large warehousing facility who, despite claiming they are only storing the goods on behalf of another party, could still be considered to be holding those goods.

(This content has been withheld because of exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act 2000)

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Transporting excise goods

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Payment of the duty

The person liable to pay the duty is specified in regulation 10(1) as the person holding the excise goods at the duty point. In the majority of cases the person liable for the duty will be the person who has (or had) physical possession of the goods at the excise duty point.

(This content has been withheld because of exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act 2000)

(This content has been withheld because of exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act 2000)

In all cases, you will need to consider all the facts and assess the person who you can show has actual physical control over the goods and could therefore be regarded as holding them. Depending on the circumstances, any other person/s you have identified as being involved in the holding may have a joint and several liability to the duty.

Joint and several liability

A joint and several liability under regulation 10(2) can be applied to any other person/s ‘involved in the holding’ of the excise goods. However, before considering such action, you must have identified the person liable under regulation 10(1). (This content has been withheld because of exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act 2000)  (This content has been withheld because of exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act 2000)

(This content has been withheld because of exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act 2000)

Where you believe that you hold enough evidence to demonstrate an ‘involvement in the holding’ by a person other than the holder, you should notify that person of their joint and several liability for the duty under regulation 10(2). Where you have identified several persons as jointly and severally liable for the duty, you should notify each person separately. Guidance on the procedure for issuing joint and several liabilities is contained in EAIG guidance.