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HMRC internal manual

Holding and Movements - Duty Stamps

HM Revenue & Customs
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Scheme Description: What is the purpose of the scheme?

The purpose of the duty stamps scheme is to indicate that duty has been, or will be, paidon the contents of the bottle to which it is affixed. If a bottle of liquor is seenwithout a stamp where it should be bearing one, it will be immediately obvious toretailers, consumers and HMRC that duty has not been paid on the product. In other words,the absence of a duty stamp, except in certain prescribed circumstances, indicates that UKduty has not been paid on those goods. The lack of a stamp renders the goods liable toseizure and the person holding them liable, on summary conviction, to a fine of up to£5000.

However, as in most cases the stamp can be applied at any point up until the goodsreach a duty point (including in other countries), the presence of a stamp on a bottlewill not necessarily provide confirmation that duty has been paid. The requirement for therelevant retail containers of spirits to bear a duty stamp will, however, provide asubstantial hurdle for fraudsters.