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02-11-2017 4:03 pm  #1


Help - surprise after 9 months (and it's not a baby)

Hi there,

My goods were seized and never returned back in November 2016.
I appealed against the seizure and requested restoration which ended up with me withdrawing the appeal after being threatened with court proceeding which in most cases people loose (as per what I've read on the internet).
I also signed the officer's notebook (I know!).

I thought it all went away and I'm set free from the stress...

After 9 months, I received a letter from HMRC with a penalty and Excise Duty Bill for over £2.5k.
There was a couple of back and forth when I admitted I do not have such cash nor I agree with the proceedings and if I cannot persuade the officer I request a review by someone else.
I was pressing about me loosing the goods and never receiving any compensation and me not understanding why I need to pay an excise duty on something I never received back.
After two weeks of silence, my case was passed on to someone from Glasgow and I was given 10 days to provide any additional information re the case. I am currently thinking if there is anything I can add to what's been said so far but nothing really comes to mind.
I also wonder if they'll start adding interest on the unpaid penalty and Excise Duty bill. The deadline to pay was 31st October.

Please help whoever's been in such situation.

Thank you very much,
Maya

 

02-11-2017 7:33 pm  #2


Re: Help - surprise after 9 months (and it's not a baby)

It's unlikely they will apply interest while the case is ongoing or immediately after.

There is very little of essence that you can put in a restoration appeal. One thing not to include though, is that the goods were for your own use as this gives HMRC reason to strike out the appeal should you take it to tribunal.

Currently we have several cases waiting to go to tribunal using article 37 as an argument against the penalty. However there is a test case due to be heard on the 18th December and depending on the outcome our cases will either be heard or struck out. There is reference to article 37 in this forum section. I would suggest you include it in your letter.

Turbulentupstart is more knowledgeable than most on the restoration process so he may add more info if he looks in.


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02-11-2017 8:36 pm  #3


Re: Help - surprise after 9 months (and it's not a baby)

As eezyrider says above -  because you withdrew your appeal the goods are now deemed to have been unlawfully imported as not being for your own use.

However, as regards the assessment to duty you may be covered by Article 37 of the EU Excise directive which states as follows:


1.   In the situations referred to in Article 33(1) and Article 36(1), in the event of the total destruction or irretrievable loss of the excise goods during their transport in a Member State other than the Member State in which they were released for consumption, as a result of the actual nature of the goods, or unforeseeable circumstances, or force majeure, or as a consequence of authorisation by the competent authorities of that Member State, the excise duty shall not be chargeable in that Member State.

Another forum member NoMoTax has some information regarding Article 37 from a European legal advice centre (seethis post) so I suggest you send him a pm.

You could also add another string to your bow by pursuing the restoration of your goods, however this is somewhat complicated.

I will post more information in the near future.
 

 

03-11-2017 9:12 am  #4


Re: Help - surprise after 9 months (and it's not a baby)

Thank you for your replies!

Unfortunately, I've already included that the goods were for my own use.
I really don't see myself going with this to tribunal (I'm only 23 with tight budget). I'm just trying to see what you have to share in case there is still something that can put this all to bed.

During the interrogation with the Officer, instead of saying that the goods are for my own use I've started lying that it is for my uncle and my mum paid for the cigarettes. It was an early flight and I was exhausted not mentioning it was my nun's funeral I was returning from.
When I received the first letter from Border Office, I admitted to the lie and that the goods were mine (not for uncle) and for my use I just did not want to admit that I am a smoker in case my family is going to find out.

I am looking into the Article 37 now.

Thank you for all your help so far!
 

     Thread Starter
 

03-11-2017 1:26 pm  #5


Re: Help - surprise after 9 months (and it's not a baby)

Since you have admitted your guilt, your only argument as I see it is to use article 37. Lying to a customs officer is sufficient reason alone to get your goods seized.

I'm guessing that the £2500 equates to approx 5000 cigs or 5kgs of tobacco. Am I correct? If so and had you have played it straight we could probably have helped you win at court. We have won cases with double that amount.

Nevertheless let's hope for a positive result when the article 37 test case comes up on Dec 18th.


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06-11-2017 10:39 am  #6


Re: Help - surprise after 9 months (and it's not a baby)

There was exactly 8000 cigs (one full luggage), eezyrider.

I'm waiting for the review by the Officer in Glasgow now, will reply with the outcome.

     Thread Starter
 

06-11-2017 1:19 pm  #7


Re: Help - surprise after 9 months (and it's not a baby)

saphira wrote:

There was exactly 8000 cigs (one full luggage), eezyrider.

I'm waiting for the review by the Officer in Glasgow now, will reply with the outcome.

Ah yes of course! Don't know how I arrived at 5000 .......senior moment...

It's based on (at the time of seizure) approx £200 per 1000 plus 57% penalty. At today's rate it is substantially more.

Depending on the outcome of your review, it should not cost anything to go to tribunal. They will ask for payment of the £2500 as a precondition but you should apply for hardship relief.
 


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Please ensure you do not divulge any information which could identify you as Border Force will use your posts here as evidence against you in court.

 
 

06-11-2017 10:03 pm  #8


Re: Help - surprise after 9 months (and it's not a baby)

eezyrider wrote:

saphira wrote:

There was exactly 8000 cigs (one full luggage), eezyrider.

I'm waiting for the review by the Officer in Glasgow now, will reply with the outcome.

Ah yes of course! Don't know how I arrived at 5000 .......senior moment...

It's based on (at the time of seizure) approx £200 per 1000 plus 57% penalty. At today's rate it is substantially more.

Depending on the outcome of your review, it should not cost anything to go to tribunal. They will ask for payment of the £2500 as a precondition but you should apply for hardship relief.
 

How do I apply for hardship relief?  Has anyone been through this process?
Just been reading about this and it looks like it is not that easy to get it and even if I do, HMRC might still recover the debt in the future if my circumstances are improved. I am employed full time which might make it easier for them to just sit on my account and take whatever is left...?

     Thread Starter
 

07-11-2017 8:46 am  #9


Re: Help - surprise after 9 months (and it's not a baby)

A tax debt will not go away unless you fight and win. There are a number of ways they can recover it e.g. court order, attachment of earnings, via your tax code (I think) and so on.

Don't know anyone that has applied for HR. Firstly you would have to apply to HMRC. They would obviously want a complete financial spreadsheet - incomings, outgoings, savings etc.

If they refuse you can then apply to the tribunal for the same.

Ultimately though the debt will have to be paid unless you win.


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