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HMRC internal manual

Holding and Movements Assurance Guidance

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HM Revenue & Customs
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Excise Movement and Control System: EMCS searches: introduction

This section explains how to use EMCS search functions for risk analysis and trader audit. EMCS holds live data, it is not a data warehouse, and this limits the extent of trend analysis that can be done. Searches terminate when 500 hits are made to prevent any performance degradation that could adversely affect traders’ interaction with the system. Searches may need to be refined in the event of returning greater than 500 hits.

Purpose of this section

The purpose of this section is to explain:

  • who should use EMCS searches
  • what you can search for
  • what the search results mean.

Online learning package 0013407 will guide you through the EMCS search functions. This section focuses on searches where there are multiple results rather than searches for a specific ARC, although non-UK searches in section 9 of the learning package refers to individual movements that may be passing through the UK.

Who should use EMCS searches

Your role defines the kind of searches that will be useful, or essential:

  • Interception staff - to search for a specific ARC, a vehicle, trailer or container, or for movements to or from target consignors and consignees
  • RIS, for risk analysis, and
  • LBS and LC assurance staff, to identify trader specific risks and to plan audits. For registered consignees this could include comparing return and duty account declarations to EMCS movements using the Registered Consignee and Direct Delivery Destination Type Codes.

What you can search for

Using the ARC to get movement details is straightforward, but the search parameters also provide the means to identify movements that could merit further investigation. EMCS controls movements using Destination Type Codes (DTC) and Status Codes. DTCs broadly refer to the consignee type. Status Codes define whether the movement is open, and if so what can or must happen next. The status is not shown on the messages that pass between traders, but is held on the EMCS database and updated in response to message interchanges.