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HMRC internal manual

Temporary Storage and Approved Depositories

Approved depositories (AD): examples of irregularities in connection with the importation of unaccompanied personal effects

Offences likely to be committed in connection with importation of unaccompanied personal effects

  • knowingly or recklessly making or causing to be made a declaration which is untrue, contrary to Section 167 (1) of the Customs and Excise Management Act 1979 (CEMA)
  • the fraudulent evasion or attempt at evasion of duty or of any prohibition or restriction upon the importation of the goods, contrary to Section 170(2) of the Customs and Excise Management Act 1979(CEMA)

Prohibited or restricted goods

Certain goods are prohibited or restricted. Prohibited means goods are banned completely from importation into the UK. Restricted goods are allowed into the UK only if the importer has prior authority such as an import licence. Prohibited or restricted goods must be dealt with in accordance to appropriate departmental guidance. There are penalties for importing such goods or causing false entries to be made in relation to prohibited and restricted goods.

Undeclared items

Detain undeclared items and issue a C125 to the owner detailing the reason for the detention of items in question. Do not delay delivery of the rest of the consignment just to secure payment of charges on the detained goods. Details regarding investigation procedures are contained in the Enforcement Handbook. Where detained goods are placed into the Queens Warehouse (QW) ensure that you indicate clearly on DCIS that they are held pending investigation and that a Customs Declaration has been made by the importer.

Note: Please see Public Notice 3 for information regarding common errors and relief criteria on importing personal effects. Public Notice 3 (Bringing your belongings and private motor vehicle to the UK from outside the EU).

Abandoned household effects

Goods that have been abandoned may be sold as per CEMA Section 40 but only if the buyer is able to pay all the charges involved in the purchase of the goods. This would include the cost of transport to the Queens Warehouse, valuation assessors, storage all the duties for example, as well as making a declaration to clear the goods. Consideration should be taken on the time spent by various Officers on site in sorting out what goods can be destroyed and what can be sold of the Personal effects which are mainly second hand furniture, clothing and personal papers for example.

The word may is used which gives us the option of destroying the goods if monies could not be obtained to cover the costs. It is therefore left to the Officers who have sight of the goods to use their initiative on whether or not to sell or destroy the goods.