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HMRC internal manual

Oils Technical Manual

Deficiencies in warehoused oil: Scope of guidance

Whereas earlier guidance envisaged Oils Assurance staff taking the leading role in monitoring and identifying losses of oils in storage or in transit, this revised guidance places a far greater emphasis on the trader’s responsibility for monitoring and identifying their own losses both in storage and in transit, and for notifying these to HMRC.

Oils Assurance staff remain responsible for ensuring that all losses of duty-suspended oil stored in or transferred between approved warehouses have been notified, and that they have been correctly accounted for.

To achieve this aim, the trader’s routine checks and controls should be supplemented where necessary by our own.


The Customs and Excise Management Act 1979 (CEMA) sections 94 and 95 empower the Commissioners to require payment of duty on oil missing or deficient after having been warehoused, if it is not shown to their satisfaction that the shortage can be accounted for by natural wastage or other legitimate cause.

The Commissioners are not required to prove that the deficient goods have gone to dutiable use. The trader must provide a satisfactory explanation for the loss otherwise the duty is payable.

Notice 179

This guidance should be read in conjunction with Notice 179 as the notice now contains most of the information on oils required for reference by both members of the oils trade and those staff involved in assurance.

Notice 179, part 14 covers ‘deficiencies in warehoused oil’.

‘Liability to duty in respect of deficiencies’ is dealt with in paragraph 14.1

‘Oil lost through accident or theft’ is dealt with in paragraph 14.2

‘How to deal with deficiencies during removal under duty suspension’ is dealt with in paragraph 14.3

‘How are discrepancies due to errors to measurement to be treated’ is dealt with in paragraph 14.5


  • A Guided Learning Unit on ‘Duty Accounting’: Reference 003203 is now available in Online Learning
  • A Guided Learning Unit on ‘Stock Accounting’: Reference 003210 is available in Online Learning.