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HMRC internal manual

Hydrocarbon Oils Strategy

HM Revenue & Customs
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Post detection audit and assessment: time limits for assessments

The Time Limits for assessments to excise duty under sections 12(1) and 12(1A) of the Finance Act 1994 (FA94) are prescribed by Section 12(4) which states that:

’ (4) An assessment of the amount of duty of excise due from any person shall not be made under this section at any time after whichever is the earlier of the following times, that is to say-

a. subject to subsection 5 below, the end of the period of four years beginning with the time when his liability to the duty arose; (the four year rule) and

b. the end of the period of one year beginning with the day on which evidence of the facts, sufficient in the opinion of the Commissioners to justify the making of the assessment, comes to their knowledge (the one year rule);'

Note: the four year period starts from the date the assessment is notified NOT the date of the detection, ie the date on the EX601. In practise this is the date of the EX601 and any accompanying letter. (For further information on Time Limits for Assessments please see HCOS5150).

Other information on the legal bases and the issue of assessments is given in HCOS5025 and in HCOS5150 in this section, which should be read together with the guidance contained in EAIG - Excise Assessments Interim Guidance: main contents.