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HMRC internal manual

Holding and Movements - Duty Stamps

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HM Revenue & Customs
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Procedure for Ordering and Obtaining Duty Stamps: Type A Stamps

Following an Official Journal EU procurement exercise, HMRC appointed a supplier for theproduction and distribution of the freestanding stamps. These stamps are the subject of asingle print process and are distributed directly by the appointed contractor to tradersregistered to receive duty stamps.

Traders based both in the UK or overseas, can place an order for stamps through asecure website operated by the contractor. In the event that the website cannot be usedfor whatever reason, stamps can be ordered over the telephone. When ordering stamps thetrader will provide the following information:

  • their registration number along with a unique identification code allocated to them by the contractor
  • the number of stamps of each product type required
  • information about where the stamps are to be affixed to retail containers
  • the delivery address for the stamps
  • for irregular stampers and REDS, where the unstamped goods will be held until the stamps are affixed, and who will be doing the affixing (if not the irregular stamper/REDS himself).

The contractor then acknowledges receipt of the order and enters the details into anelectronic database to which HMRC also has access. The contractor then arranges for thedistribution of the stamps.

Before distribution of the stamps, the contractor adds the details of the supply ontothe electronic database – i.e. the number and type of stamps supplied, the date ofthe supply, delivery address and the serial numbers of the stamps supplied. Again, HMRChave access to this information for risk assessment purposes.

The stamps are delivered by the contracted printer to the address specified at the timeof the order. The period of time which the contractor has to complete and deliver theorder is specified in the contract between HMRC and the contractor.

If the trader wants to change the number of stamps ordered, the product type or thedelivery address, he is required to inform the contractor within 24 hours of placing thatorder. If the stamps are to be affixed at premises other than that specified at the timeof the order, or by a different person than whom previously specified, the trader mustgive details of the change two clear business days before the stamps are affixed.

If the trader is an irregular stamper, or a REDS, and he wants to change the premisesnotified at the time of ordering at which he will be holding unstamped goods, he mustinform the contractor within one business day of moving them to the new premises.

Upon delivery to the trader, a signature would be obtained to confirm receipt of thestamps. Any discrepancy between the order and the delivery must be notified to HMRC’scontractor within one business day. The contractor will then react accordingly to thediscrepancy within the terms of his contract with HMRC.

Traders acquiring Type A stamps from HMRC’s contractor are required to keeprecords of their receipt and use – see HMDS2930 on recordkeeping requirements.

There are no minimum or maximum periods of notice for ordering the stamps. The traderwill, however, be made aware of the maximum period of time it will take to distribute thestamps from the date the order is placed, so will need to work back from the time he needsthe stamps, to establish when he needs to order them. There is also no restriction onminimum or maximum sizes of order.

A trader acquiring Type A stamps is prohibited from passing on those stamps for use byanyone else except in the type of circumstances covered in HMDS2630.In the event that he did, the stamps, or the product to which they were affixed, would beliable to forfeiture and the trader would be subject to a civil penalty of £250 perstamp, or a more proportionate amount in cases involving a large quantity of stamps.Guidance on issuing civil penalties is covered later in this guidance.