The United Kingdom Warehousing Association has called for changes to the way HMRC handles sanctions within excise law to companies operating in the excise goods supply chain.
It wants a formal mechanism for HMRC to be able to remit duty in cases of irregularities caused by genuine error where the relevant products have been secured in a tax warehouse or there is proof of export.
HMRC is launching an internal review of the way sanctions are applied, and UKWA is urging the excise industry to share its concerns about the way excise law is applied.
UKWA was recently invited by HMRC officials to discuss industry concerns and problems regarding the matter.
It said that logistics firms risk incurring duty assessments and major related penalties if they make a simple procedural error when it comes to duty-suspended excise goods, which they may store or distribute on behalf of their clients.
“By ticking the ‘wrong box’ while goods are under duty suspense – whether in production, holding or movement – a company effectively creates a duty point and if duty is not paid at that time, a liability of up to 100 per cent will be incurred for ‘holding’ duty-unpaid goods,” said UKWA’s advisor on excise matters, Alan Powell.
“As UK law currently stands, legitimate businesses are facing massive risks of ‘unfair taxation’ for each and every minor genuine error during transactions, together with associated penalties, but those who actively seek to cheat the revenue continue to flourish almost unhindered.”
HMRC’s review will be published on 31 March 2014.