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12-2-2013 2:08 pm  #1


HMRC Fines and Duty demands. FOI 1016/13

These come about because the shopper is classed as a Revenue Trader. Personally l believe that they cannot class you as a Revenue Trader so easily as they make out. Your thoughts?

 
Date 
5 February 2013 
 
 
 
Our ref 
FOI 1016/13 
 
 
 
 
 
Dear Ms ******, 
 
 
I refer to your request, which was received on 9 January 2013 in which you asked:  
 
A cross-border shopper buys, imports and handles Excise Goods i.e. tobacco. Does that 
mean that said shopper is a Revenue Trader? 
 
lf not, can you explain to me why not please? ls there any circumstances that you would 
define said shopper as a Revenue Trader? 
      
If yes, can you explain to me what exactly said shopper has to be doing to be classed as a 
Revenue Trader? 

 
I am answering under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA).  
 
In order for a traveller to be classed as a revenue trader, they must meet the requirements 
as laid down in section 1 of the Customs and Excise Management Act 1979 (CEMA).  This 
requires that a person buys, imports and handles excise goods and that they do so in the 
course of ‘carrying out a trade or business’.  This means that HM Revenue & Customs would 
not deem a traveller importing alcohol or tobacco for their own use as a revenue trader. 
However, where the traveller profits from the import of the goods or where there is evidence 
that indicates the goods are being imported as part of a trade or business, then the traveller 
would be deemed to be a revenue trader. 

Yours sincerely 
 
 
 
 
 
Caroline Winrow-Clark 
Policy Adviser 


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12-2-2013 3:19 pm  #2


Re: HMRC Fines and Duty demands. FOI 1016/13

Does a Seizure for reasons of 'commerciality' automatically mean the shopper was a 'revenue trader'.(and therefore liable to a fine)? Probably yes unless the shopper in question can show he was in no way 'profiting' from the 'trade' I'd guess.

In other words, if the shopper was infact acting as an unpaid agent for ,say, a disabled friend then the shopper could perhaps argue that he was not a revenue trader despite the goods not being for own use.

Maybe. But that would need testing in court I'd think.


"I, uh, let her out the trunk...heard what, err, She snarled at THEM...."

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12-2-2013 3:50 pm  #3


Re: HMRC Fines and Duty demands. FOI 1016/13

It would be wise to bring this up in court. Such as "Are you saying l'm a Revenue Trader?"  "Can you supply any evidence of a trade or business?" It's not what the officer 'thinks', it says 'any evidence'.

There's also the scenario of bringing it up at time of seizure. If they are seizing your goods and therefore claiming you are a Revenue Trader then that must allow you the opportunity to pay the duty and keep your goods. That then legally ALLOWS you to sell your goods to anyone as duty has been paid. You may make a loss but definitely not a significant one.


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12-2-2013 5:01 pm  #4


Re: HMRC Fines and Duty demands. FOI 1016/13

Agree with SH that I think this peice of information could only be used to keep the goods with the addition of paying the duty. The problem with bringing back for a disabled friend would always be that if the disabled friend provided you with the money to buy the goods, it is no longer a gift.

Further example would be that I could go and buy 20 cartons of cigarettes, 10 for Ms Celtic and 10 for me. But if Ms celtic gave me money to buy them that ain't no good to the goons. However, I suppose if I went alone abroad and bought 20 cartons and the same senario was applicable except I give her 10 as gifts and then she does the same reciprocally the next time for me, then its just gifts.

 

12-2-2013 5:24 pm  #5


Re: HMRC Fines and Duty demands. FOI 1016/13

Smoking Hot wrote:

It would be wise to bring this up in court. Such as "Are you saying l'm a Revenue Trader?"  "Can you supply any evidence of a trade or business?" It's not what the officer 'thinks', it says 'any evidence'.

There's also the scenario of bringing it up at time of seizure. If they are seizing your goods and therefore claiming you are a Revenue Trader then that must allow you the opportunity to pay the duty and keep your goods. That then legally ALLOWS you to sell your goods to anyone as duty has been paid. You may make a loss but definitely not a significant one.

Except UKBF won't be claiming that you are a revenue trader, they are simply seizing on grounds of Commerciality, as directed to under their remit! HMRC are the ones who decide you are a Revenue Trader. At least that's where I think the body is buried.


"I, uh, let her out the trunk...heard what, err, She snarled at THEM...."

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12-2-2013 5:39 pm  #6


Re: HMRC Fines and Duty demands. FOI 1016/13

In simple terms-

If BF seize your goods on the grounds that they are for commercial use after you have argued they ain't, then they are classing you as a revenue trader as they believe the goods are for profit.
You can't then admit to being a revenue trader and offer to pay as in effect you have attempted to smuggle the goods in without paying UK duty ie the offence has been committed.

The only way you could admit to being a revenue trader is by declaring the items in the correct manner and having them assessed for duty.

Of course the only definitive way to decide who is a revenue trader would be by condemnation proceedings.


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12-2-2013 5:47 pm  #7


Re: HMRC Fines and Duty demands. FOI 1016/13

The Blocked Dwarf wrote:

HMRC are the ones who decide you are a Revenue Trader. At least that's where I think the body is buried.

According to themselves...

 

12-2-2013 6:07 pm  #8


Re: HMRC Fines and Duty demands. FOI 1016/13

eezyrider wrote:

In simple terms-

If BF seize your goods on the grounds that they are for commercial use after you have argued they ain't, then they are classing you as a revenue trader as they believe the goods are for profit.
You can't then admit to being a revenue trader and offer to pay as in effect you have attempted to smuggle the goods in without paying UK duty ie the offence has been committed.

The only way you could admit to being a revenue trader is by declaring the items in the correct manner and having them assessed for duty.

Of course the only definitive way to decide who is a revenue trader would be by condemnation proceedings.

Technically that may be correct. However, lf you claimed that according to their own criteria, as you understand it, you are not a revenue trader then you did not try to evade duty. If they then claim you are, you could say ok at this moment, if that is the case, l shall pay the duty and keep my goods. l shall be questioning your interpretation at a later date.

lt's worth noting that Revenue Traders who have not paid the duty, get a duty demand and once paid indeed do get their goods. HMRC are wrongly applying these regs to cross-border shoppers ... something it was never intended to do!

Bobi can tell you more but EU regs meant the interpretation of Revenue Trader was meant for 50kg or more. It's like illegal drugs ... there has to be a certain amount before the police go for intent to supply. lt's like the police charging someone with intent to supply because they have quarter an ounce of cannabis!
 

Last edited by Smoking Hot (12-2-2013 6:15 pm)


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12-2-2013 6:33 pm  #9


Re: HMRC Fines and Duty demands. FOI 1016/13

Sh
Remember that audio recording of the interview my mrs and myself went to, well im sure in that HMRC say they know we arnt revenue traders but she still got hit with the duty bill and a penalty, fat chance of them getting anything lol

 

12-2-2013 6:51 pm  #10


Re: HMRC Fines and Duty demands. FOI 1016/13

I absolutely agree, it is another case of BF using a law for a purpose for which it was not intended.
And yes your mention of 50kgs rings a bell deep down.

I think I see the point you are making SH, that of evidence being required in the matter of a revenue trader, as opposed to 'balance of probabilities' in other matters. Of course this penalty issue has come about since they moved the goalposts, was it April 2010 Holding & Movement of goods? BF are using every available tool to disrupt shoppers and clawback revenue but they do not publicise their actions  to deter 'offenders' like other agencies such as the police do.

Personally if my goods were seized I'm thinking my course of action would be to send in a NOC by ordinary post. If BF are not acknowledging mail other than signed for, well that's ok. I would hope they did not acknowledge my NOC, let it run the 6 months and then claim my goods back with costs. As I have said elsewhere, I would use the 'Interpretation Act' which in effect states that an item sent in the manner requested by the recipient, shall be deemed to be delivered. By sending NOC signed for we are effectively insisting BF issue proceedings. Of course this has not been tested yet which is why I was hoping member 'beenhadoff' would take this route since he did not have any other clear option.

Following this course of action I would then ignore any penalty notice until HMRC took proceedings for it and argue the matter in court.

Obviously there are elements of risk attached as no-one can guarantee the outcome.
Sorry to ramble slightly off topic but I thought it relevant.


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12-2-2013 7:07 pm  #11


Re: HMRC Fines and Duty demands. FOI 1016/13

dirtyrider wrote:

Sh
Remember that audio recording of the interview my mrs and myself went to, well im sure in that HMRC say they know we arnt revenue traders but she still got hit with the duty bill and a penalty, fat chance of them getting anything lol

Yes, that's the other side of the coin. HMRC use this to in some forlorn hope to find 'runners' to grass on their bosses which results in the 'runners' avoiding the duty bill and penalty. Whoever thought this crap up watches too much TV and should get out in the real world. The more l see of HMRC and UKBA/BF ... the less l see any intelligence. lt never crosses their minds that cross border shoppers are not runners!
 

Last edited by Smoking Hot (12-2-2013 7:12 pm)


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12-2-2013 11:56 pm  #12


Re: HMRC Fines and Duty demands. FOI 1016/13

Smoking Hot wrote:

Bobi can tell you more but EU regs meant the interpretation of Revenue Trader was meant for 50kg or more.
 

*ears prick*
*interest wetted*

Never heard anything about that before.


"I, uh, let her out the trunk...heard what, err, She snarled at THEM...."

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13-2-2013 12:04 am  #13


Re: HMRC Fines and Duty demands. FOI 1016/13

shopperleighonsea wrote:

The Blocked Dwarf wrote:

HMRC are the ones who decide you are a Revenue Trader. At least that's where I think the body is buried.

According to themselves...

Hmm if I read that right then even an unpaid, unremunerated-in-any-way, agent will be classed by HMRC as a Revenue Trader.

(i) the buying, selling, importation, exportation, dealing in or handling of any goods of a class or description which is subject to a duty of excise (whether or not duty is chargeable on the goods); . .

Oh well it was a thought


"I, uh, let her out the trunk...heard what, err, She snarled at THEM...."

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18-3-2014 6:16 pm  #14


Re: HMRC Fines and Duty demands. FOI 1016/13

Continuing the subject
You might probably find some explanation here:

http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/thelibrary/tobacco-products.pdf

 

 

10-4-2014 10:42 pm  #15


Re: HMRC Fines and Duty demands. FOI 1016/13

one of the questions asked when i was being interviewed was , "are you a revenue trader?" i think this was asked on more than one occasion during my interview so it is relevent as its one of their questions


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11-4-2014 8:27 pm  #16


Re: HMRC Fines and Duty demands. FOI 1016/13

They went one better with me. The officer actually recorded in her notebook that I had said I WAS  a revenue trader. Although a correction note was inserted later, it was not clear what the note referred to. In court, the officer admitted that I had not said I was a revenue trader and could not explain how this "error" had persisted into her witness statement. She also used a reason for seizure which could have been used to justify a deliberate wrongdoing penalty.

Was the harassment I received from HMRC regarding the duty demand just a coincidence?

Last edited by turbulentupstart (11-4-2014 8:30 pm)

 

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