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HMRC internal manual

Spirits Production Manual

Introduction - How to use this guidance

This guidance is designed for use as a reference manual and aide memoire on matters specific to the Spirits Production regime.

For clarity, it is divided into 5 parts:

  • Section 1000 sets out the scope and aims of the guidance. It also contains a glossary of terms and a summary table of monetary penalties in HMRC legislation
  • Section 2000 - Background:

    • sets out the system objectives;
    • shows what laws and regulations apply to the regime;
    • provides advice on the interpretation of the law;
    • defines the role of the Alcohol, Holding & Movements Policy Team (Customs & Indirect Tax); and
    • makes clear the scope of delegation.
  • Section 3000 sets out the law and policy governing the regime.

The relevant provisions contained in primary law and the regulations are reproduced here. Where there are monetary penalties in the law it is the level on ‘the standard scale’ that is reproduced. The legal provisions which standardised monetary penalties for summary offences and a table of standard scales can be found at SPIR1060.

The section also deals with the interpretation of the legal provisions and highlights the Department’s policy in particular instances (for example the treatment of applications for a distiller’s licence in respect of stills with a capacity of less than 18 hectolitres).

This section should be used when seeking guidance on the application of law and policy, or when encountering problems of interpretation. The full text of primary law and regulations should be used where accurate reproduction of the law is essential, for example when offence action is under consideration. Should you have any doubt over the interpretation of thelaw or policy covering spirits production, please contact the Alcohol, Holding & Movements Policy Team (Customs & Indirect Tax).

  • Section 4000 provides an overview of the spirits production system by explaining, in general terms, the manufacturing processes and procedures. The section also provides guidance on a range of technical matters.
  • Section 5000 draws on the experience of control officers to provide guidance on good control practice. The content of this section is not prescriptive but should be given careful consideration when drawing up assurance plans.