Clause 81 - Excise Duty: Penalties

Part of Finance (No. 2) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 6:15 pm on 5 January 2022.

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Photo of Helen Whately Helen Whately The Exchequer Secretary 6:15, 5 January 2022

Clause 81 makes two changes to ensure that current penalties for excise wrongdoings also apply to excise goods located in the customs-free zone of a freeport and to excise goods imported under the new authorised use customs procedure introduced at the end of the transition period. These changes do not create any additional burdens for businesses. They simply ensure that there is a consistent approach to excise wrongdoing penalties for serious non-compliance.

The Government have introduced two new customs procedures. The first is the free zone procedure, which will allow excise duty to be suspended in customs-free zones located in freeports. Freeports are part of the Government’s plans to regenerate and develop deprived areas and our mission to level up across the country. The second is the authorised use procedure, a customs import procedure introduced at the end of the transition period to replace a previous customs procedure that no longer applied when we left the EU. The current UK excise wrongdoing penalties in schedule 41 to the Finance Act 2008 do not extend to either of these procedures. This clause corrects that and ensures that HMRC can tackle abuse and non-compliance in respect of excise goods stored under these procedures.

The changes made by the clause extend the excise wrongdoing penalty regime in schedule 41 to the Finance Act 2008 to free zones and to situations where businesses release goods into the authorised use procedure introduced at the end of the transition period. These changes do not create any additional administrative burdens or costs for businesses. They will apply only to businesses that import excise goods into UK free zones or to businesses authorised to release goods into the authorised use procedure. These changes will enable HMRC to penalise individuals for any wrongdoing or non-compliance relating to excise goods imported under either of these processes.

In summary, these changes ensure that the Government have the necessary tools to tackle non-compliance and avoidance when goods are imported into the UK under either the free zone procedure or the authorised use procedure.