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HMRC internal manual

Holding and Movements Assurance Guidance

Registration and approval: revocation of approval/authorisation

The approval/authorisation of existing traders that appear to be falling short of an acceptable level of compliance, or who are deemed to be a risk, will be reviewed and considered for revocation.

Possible reasons for revoking a warehouse/warehousekeeper, registered owner, duty representative, registered consignor, registered consignee, temporary registered consignee, registered commercial importer or tax representative approval will match those found at HMAG31100 and HMAG31200 which deals with the refusal of applications. In addition officers should also consider the following in deciding whether or not revocation is appropriate:

  • the legal entity or its key employees continue to demonstrate non-compliance in this or other HMRC regimes;
  • key personnel have been replaced by persons with a proven history of revenue fraud or non-compliance;
  • failure to comply with excise legislation and HMRC requirements; for example, failure to notify any material change in the business e.g. change of principal place of business, operating unapproved premises to store duty suspended goods;
  • failure to comply with specific regime conditions or requirements, for example, failing to notify HMRC when goods are received by registered consignees
  • where significant losses/discrepancies are identified within a warehouse; this not only puts the warehouse approval into question but also the warehousekeeper’s authorisation;
  • repeated failure to submit returns
  • has sold goods in warehouse without advising the warehousekeeper or checking that the buyer is WOWGR registered (registered owners and duty representatives)
  • repeated discrepancies and errors found on returns
  • Business patterns are unsustainable (for example always exporting previously imported goods).

Revocation period for warehouses

CEMA s98 provides a revocation period of three months for the withdrawal of GSD warehouse approvals.

There is no mandatory revocation period for a warehousekeeper authorisation, registered owner, duty representative, or registered consignor approval; the revocation can become immediately effective. In practice, the assurance officer should weigh the risk to the revenue against setting the revocation date to a date which allows the trader to deal/account for stock on hand or in transit.

The immediate revocation of the warehousekeeper authorisation causes a duty point to occur for all duty suspended goods in the warehouse. This would cause significant disruption and logistical problems. In most cases the warehousekeeper should be allowed a one month revocation period during which conditions and restrictions can be placed on the premises approval to address or limit specific risks identified.

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

Revocation period for registered owners and duty representatives

When a registered owner’s or a duty representative’s approval and registration is revoked a duty point exists under WOWGR regulation 21(1). There is no requirement under WOWGR to provide a period of Notice prior to the revocation coming into effect as exists for warehouse approvals. However, wherever possible a period of 10 working days should be provided to allow, where appropriate, for arrangements to be made to pay the duty unless it is considered that a significant revenue risk exists which requires immediate revocation.

For duty representatives officers must obtain a list of current owners who they act on behalf of. Full details of the warehouses in which the clients of the duty representative are storing goods must also be obtained. Officers can decide to extend the 10 day notice period but for no more than a calendar month, if this is considered reasonable, given the number of clients the duty representative may have.

Revocation period for registered consignees, temporary registered consignees, registered commercial importers and tax representatives

We can revoke a registered consignee, temporary registered consignee, registered commercial importer or tax representative approval at any time for reasonable cause under CEMA 100G(5). However, officers must ensure that the trader is able to account for the duty due on any goods that were imported during the time they were approved.