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HMRC internal manual

Holding and Movements Assurance Guidance

Registration and approval: types of approval/authorisation/registration

Revenue traders

Authorised warehousekeepers, registered owners, duty representatives, registered consignors, registered consignees, temporary registered consignees, registered commercial importers and tax representatives are all ‘revenue traders’ as defined in CEMA s1(1)(a). They are also registered excise dealers and shippers approved and registered under CEMA s100G which is the primary law for all excise trader approvals/authorisations.

Warehouse premises

Before an excise warehouse can be allowed to operate the premises must first be approved under CEMA s92 (or ALDA s15). This enables the Commissioners to approve, for such periods and subject to such conditions as they think fit, places of security for the deposit, keeping and securing of excise goods without payment of the excise duty.

For all new applications for warehouse premises approval, a financial premises security, guaranteed by a recognised financial institution must be in place before approval can be granted (see HMFSA guidance for details). However, the provision of a guarantee should not influence the Officer’s judgement if they feel that the structure of the premises is inherently insecure and does not meet our minimum standards.

There are only 2 types of excise warehouse:

  1. General storage and distribution warehouses where an authorised warehousekeeper holds excise goods in duty suspension for himself or on behalf of other owners of goods. This type of approval is subject to the minimum throughput criteria levels listed in Notice 196 (HMRC website).
  2. Trade facility warehouses who can only be approved where the applicant can demonstrate a need to place the goods into the duty suspension arrangement. The applicant must be able to show why there is a need for the duty not to be paid at the time of production or importation and therefore justify his application. (for example a bottling/canning/packaging facility, not attached to an existing approved warehouse (GSD), an Aircraft Store Floor or an Export Shop). Trade facility warehouse approval is not given where a business does not meet the throughput criteria of a general storage and distribution warehouse. It is only granted for a specific trade facilitation that requires the duty suspension chain to be maintained. The approval should detail the time period that duty-suspended goods may be stored on the premises before and after the process for which the trade facilitation is allowed. For example when a bottling or labelling operation is completed the goods should be duty paid following the operation or removed within a specific time period to an approved GSD.

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Authorised warehousekeepers

For excise warehousekeepers CEMA s100G(2) enables the Commissioners to authorise any person who appears to them to satisfy the requirements for authorisation subject to such conditions or restrictions as they may think fit to impose under the regulations. This includes the warehouse records and accounts, management controls and operating procedures meeting the minimum standards required by HMRC.

Officers should not authorise any person i.e. Limited Company, Partnership or sole proprietor where a potential and demonstrable risk is identified in relation to a specific application that suggests it is against the public interest for the authorisation to be granted.

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Registered owners

Registered owners are traders based in the UK, approved and registered to hold their own excise goods and/or buy ‘relevant’ excise goods held in duty suspension in a UK excise warehouse. A registered owner may only:

  • Hold ‘relevant goods’ that he owns in an excise warehouse
  • Buy ‘relevant goods’ that are held in an excise warehouse

If at any time after relevant excise goods are deposited in an excise warehouse the goods cease to be owned by a registered owner or there is no duty representative acting as the owner’s agent (i.e. the goods are sold in warehouse to a new owner who is not registered etc) a duty point arises subject to the provisions of regulation 21 of WOWGR)

Revenue traders must be approved and registered under CEMA s100G and WOWGR regulation 5 before storing goods in duty suspension in an excise warehouse.

If an owner sells goods in duty suspension he is deemed to be “the last owner of the goods whilst warehoused” for any movement guarantee or duty liability purposes.

‘Relevant’ goods are defined in regulation 2 of WOWGR. For traders who only deal in wine, registration is not required under an Extra Statutory Concession (see Notice 48 (HMRC website) paragraph 6.9). Authorised warehousekeepers who hold their own goods in their own warehouse are not required to register.

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Duty representatives

Duty representatives are persons based in the UK who are approved and registered to act on behalf of non-UK based owners. A duty representative arranges for ‘relevant’ excise goods (excludes wine and energy products) to be held in an excise warehouse in duty suspension. He may also act as an agent for a non-UK based owner to buy relevant goods held in an excise warehouse. Duty representatives are approved and registered under CEMA s100G(2) and regulation 6 of WOWGR. Duty representatives must be resident, or have a fixed business establishment, in the UK. All requirements applying to owners under WOWGR, also apply to duty representatives who cannot act on behalf of UK owners. Officers should as far as possible be satisfied that OMS owners shown on a duty representative application (form EX64) are genuine and are not UK taxpaying traders who create companies in OMS to avoid approval/registration as a UK owner under WOWGR.

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Registered consignors

Registered consignors are certain traders based in the UK who are specifically approved and registered to dispatch excise goods in duty suspension immediately following their release to free circulation (meaning that all customs formalities and duties have been paid or accounted for) to allowable destinations. Registered consignors are approved and registered under CEMA s100G and HMDP regulation 30. This trader type deals with excise goods which have been imported from third countries and have either been released to free circulation from a place of importation in the UK or from a Customs suspensive regime (for example Customs warehousing).

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Registered consignees

Registered Consignees are revenue traders approved and registered to receive duty-suspended excise goods from other Member States. Registered Consignees cannot hold or dispatch goods under duty-suspension arrangements.

They are approved under CEMA s100G and regulation 22 of the HMDP regulations.

Registered Consignees can also be approved to operate ‘direct delivery’. This is where the goods can be delivered to other business addresses in the UK.

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Temporary registered consignees

Temporary registered consignees are revenue traders approved and registered to receive duty-suspended excise goods from other Member States on a consignment-by-consignment basis. Temporary registered consignees cannot hold or dispatch goods under duty-suspension arrangements.

They are approved under CEMA s100G and regulation 22 of the HMDP regulations. Once registered, a temporary registered consignee will need to apply for separate authorisation to receive excise goods on a consignment-by-consignment basis.

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Registered commercial importers

Registered commercial importers are revenue traders approved and registered to receive goods that have already been released for consumption in another Member State (i.e. ‘duty-paid’ goods).

They are approved under CEMA s100G and regulation 70 of the HMDP regulations.

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Tax representatives

Tax representatives are revenue traders approved and registered to act on behalf of vendors in other Member States. They must account for the UK duty on distance sales.

They are approved under CEMA s100G and regulation 76 of the HMDP regulations.