Following pressure and campaigning by UKWA, HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has reviewed the timescales taken to approve applicants to operate excise businesses and the conditions imposed on such approvals. The review has found that the approval process has often taken too long and conditions applied were not always fit for purpose – and some cases may unjustly restrict business activity.
Applications should now be processed by HMRC within 45 working days rather than an indeterminate time. Conditions will not be imposed upon approvals unless fully justified. Approved persons may also submit a request to HMRC for consideration of revocation of existing conditions.
“There should now be certainty about approval timescales and expectation of the correct exercise of HMRC’s powers of discretion with regard to imposition of conditions and restrictions,” said Alan Powell, UKWA’s excise duty specialist. “HMRC has also showed it can listen if one pounds the door hard enough.”
Peter Ward, CEO of UKWA added: “We are helping our members who are heavily involved in the handling, storage and distribution of excise goods. We want to balance government initiatives designed to help eliminate fraud and collect revenues but at the same time impose draconian measures that make business increasingly difficult for our members, as well as other operators in the logistics sector and retailers.”