HMRC excise power update

From 1 April 2011 HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) will strengthen its powers to tackle Excise fraud with a sensible safeguard.

HMRC will have greater inspection powers, allowing inspection of premises used by a business regardless of who owns the premises. HMRC will also be able to inspect documents as well as goods and take copies or remove original documents of required.

HMRC will be able to obtain information about a trader from third parties like:

  • banks
  • landlords
  • haulage firms.

This is through a new tribunal approval process with non-compliance resulting in a penalty.

The amendments will also change the record keeping and time limits to bring them in line with the requirements under other taxes, ie increased from three to four years. The four year time limit will be effective from 1 April 2012 with a transitional provision in place from 1 April 2011 to 31 March 2012.

These changes will be made by amending the Customs and Excise Management Act 1979 which applies to:

  • air Passenger duty
  • alcohol duty
  • amusement machine licence duty
  • bingo duty
  • gaming duty
  • general betting duty
  • holding and movements
  • hydrocarbon oils duty
  • lottery duty
  • pool betting duty
  • remote gaming duty
  • tobacco duty.

The safeguard preventing HMRC from inspecting premises used only as a private dwelling will remain. Check the HMRC website for further details.