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HMRC internal manual

VAT Export and Removal of Goods from the UK

Fraud: checking the validity of air waybills

(This content has been withheld because of exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act 2000)

  • You should ensure that a House or Master Air waybill that is being used as proof of export or removal is certified. Examples of both air waybills are at VEXP110100 and VEXP110200. The Master air waybill is certified by the appropriate airline by completion of the boxes on the bottom right hand corner of the form. Similarly the House air waybill is certified by the shipping agent by completion of the boxes on the same part of the form.
  • There are a number of ways that the validity of an air waybill can be tested. The first is a modulus type check – see VEXP120030. It will not however show that the information on the air waybill is genuine. There have been cases where genuine air waybills have been stolen and completed with false information. It is also perfectly feasible to use technology to scan a genuine air waybill, remove the proper information and insert false information in its place.
  • If the Modulus check is unsatisfactory or if you are unsure about the validity of an air waybill you should refer the details to the Export and Removal of Goods Unit of Expertise (UoE) in Cardiff - contact details are shown in VEXP10600. You will need to provide us (preferably by e-mail) with the relevant Master (or Simple) air waybill number (not the House air way bill number) and the TURN number (VAT number plus 3 additional digits) of the exporter of the goods and details of the goods as shown on the air waybill.
  • Where the air waybill is claimed to relate to an export we will interrogate the departmental export systems (CHIEF or MSS) to find out whether an export entry has been made which corresponds to the information on the air waybill. Since it is a legal requirement to submit an accurate Customs entry for every export from the UK any irregularities in the information or indeed lack of an entry will call into doubt the validity of the air waybill. Further action can be discussed with the UoE.
  • It is important to note that CHIEF and MSS checks can only be carried out on goods that are exported to non-EC destinations. However the Modulus check on air waybills is still appropriate for intra-EC removals and any failures should be referred to the UoE for consultation.
  • There is a further check that can be carried out on air waybills. These are checks via the Lucas system. This is a commercial system that records manifest details behind air waybills used for Intra-Community trade and exports from the UK. At this stage it should be considered as a last resort in checking the validity of an air waybill and a strong case for instigating an interrogation would have to be made. You should contact the UoE initially if you require this check.