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Andrew D.P. Scott
Andrew D.P. Scott, Barrister
Category: UK Law
Satisfied Customers: 88
Experience:  LLB(Hons) 1st Class, Gray's Inn Master Bedingfield Scholar, BVC Very Competent, Public Access Rights
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I have a notice of seizure for 1000 cigarettes that my mother

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I have a notice of seizure for 1000 cigarettes that my mother send to me from Greece (EU). The Greek duty has been paid but the UK Border Agency have seized the goods
under bsection 139 of the customs & Excise management act 1979 Aplicable legislation tobago products regulations 2001 regulation act 14 (1). Can I get these back without having to pay the uk duty and an extra 15% or have them returned to sender? They say if I have to challenge the legality of the seizure and start legal proceedings which could require to pay costs not less than £1,500.

Thank you

Andrew D.P. Scott :

Hello, I am pleased to be asked to assist you.

Andrew D.P. Scott :

WHen duty goods are brought through customs from a country which is a member of the EU you can only bring them in withut paying UK duty if they are for your own use.

Andrew D.P. Scott :

They are now seized, and I guess you have lost the administrative appeal to UKBA as the mention of legal proceedings is mentioned.

Andrew D.P. Scott :

When ownership of the goods is claimed the UKBA has to send the issue toa magistrates' court to determine if the seizure is lawful.

Andrew D.P. Scott :

I have acted at court in exactly this type of proceedings.

Andrew D.P. Scott :

The excise duty point, at which UK excise duty is payable for tobacco generally arises at importation under Reg 12(1) of the Tobacco Products Regs 2001 SI
1712

Andrew D.P. Scott :

European Law provides (Council Directive 92112/EEC) as follows (Art 8):


"As regards XXXXX XXXXX by private individuals for their own use
and transported by them, the principle governing the internal market lays
down that excise duty shall be charged in the Member State in which they
are acquired. "

Andrew D.P. Scott :

The right under the Directive is a personal right to import goods for "own use".


This expression has been considered at length in caselaw" both in Europe and the
UK, and the caselaw is given effect in the new Regulations:



  • It includes use as a personal gift (sub-reg (lB)(b))

  • But cases in which the importer is to be reimbursed, even at cost, are clearly defined as "commercial" - see sub-reg (l B)( c)

  • Duty and tax must have been paid in the member state at acquisition - see
    sub-reg (lB)(d)

Andrew D.P. Scott :

Your problem appears to be that no one travelled with the goods and therefore they are subject to duty as imports.

Andrew D.P. Scott :

you are not aallowed to pay the duty once the goods have been discovered

Customer:

In the letter I recieved from the Uk Border Agency it says "there is no reguirement for you to take any action, unless the following circustances apply:

Customer:

1. You believe that it was illegal for

Andrew D.P. Scott :

hi

Customer:

Uk border to seize the goods or you wish to have the seized items returned t you (with the condition that I pay uk duty and 15% extra)

Customer:

Hi, sorry for interupted msg

Andrew D.P. Scott :

ok

Andrew D.P. Scott :

did you write a letter of appeal to UKBA

Andrew D.P. Scott :

yes or no answers

Customer:

no I haven't contacted them yet

Andrew D.P. Scott :

ok,

Andrew D.P. Scott :

appeal to them first, the address should be in the letter

Andrew D.P. Scott :

explain the situation fully

Andrew D.P. Scott :

my view is that cos they were imported that duty is due on the goods

Andrew D.P. Scott :

it would have been different if your mum had brought them in with her

Andrew D.P. Scott :

do you smoke

Andrew D.P. Scott :

?

Customer:

yes they are for my personal use

Customer:

I don't really want vto pay the uk duty and defininately I don't want to pay the magistrate costs of £1500

Andrew D.P. Scott :

if its going to mags and you may lose, write to the ukba withdrawing your challenge before it gets to court

Andrew D.P. Scott :

otherwise if it gets to court they will apply for costs

Andrew D.P. Scott :

50 packs of fags is £1200, lot cheaper than £1500 in costs

Customer:

Can they be returned to sender instead? (they only cost 160 euros lol)

Andrew D.P. Scott :

i dont believe that they can once they have been seized

Andrew D.P. Scott :

they normally destroy them by burning after 30 days

Andrew D.P. Scott :

if they lose the court case they award you the cost of the cigarettes

Andrew D.P. Scott :

what brand do you smoke

Andrew D.P. Scott :

if they are offering you the option of paying the vat and a 15% surcharge that is a matter for you to decide whether you take them up on it or not

Customer:

what a shame, never mind thank for you help, have a good w/end :) Silk cut slims, cant find them everywhere.

Andrew D.P. Scott :

ok, never a pleasant situation to advise on, HMRC BA are very powerful

Andrew D.P. Scott :

please click the accept button and complete the feedback section, that is very important to me

Andrew D.P. Scott :

thanls

Andrew D.P. Scott :

thanks

Andrew D.P. Scott :

bye

Customer:

Ok, take care







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