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HMRC internal manual

Holding and Movements - Duty Stamps

Scheme Description: When were duty stamps introduced?

The table below sets out the key dates:

Date Action Notes
1 January 2006 HMRC starts to register applicants The design of the Type B stamp was made available in early 2006 so that the industry could start to commission label redesign work and start applying label stamps. The freestanding stamps become available shortly afterwards.
1 October 2006 All products which fall within the scope of the duty stamp scheme which are removed to home use in the UK, on payment of duty after this date must bear a duty stamp. Note that there was no legal requirement for products to bear duty stamps if they passed a duty point prior to this date.
1 January 2007 All containers on retail shelves must be marked and it will be an offence to be in possession of or sell unstamped containers of spirits Given the amount of unstamped stock that will remain in the supply chain or the retail environment after duty stamping requirements come into effect (i.e. slow moving products) HMRC will allow unstamped stock to remain on retail shelves until 1 January 2007. In practice, this means that anyone selling, or in possession of, or transporting unstamped spirits before 1 January 2007 will not be penalised, nor will the goods be seized.
Retailers who have purchased unstamped spirits which they suspect may not be sold by 1 January 2007 should keep records to prove that the purchase was made prior to when the goods were legally required to bear a stamp (1 October 2006). Such proof of purchase will be taken into account when considering whether there has been any breach of duty stamps legislation.