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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: UK Law
Satisfied Customers: 69380
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice.
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Jo, My husband had cigarettes and tobacco seized at the

Customer Question

Hello Jo, My husband had cigarettes and tobacco seized at the airport but was told that he was warned and not to do it again or there will be consequences. 18 months later he has received a letter stating he needs to pay more or less £1500. are they able to do this and does he get a solicitor.
Submitted: 4 months ago.
Category: UK Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 4 months ago.

Do they quote any legislation upon the letter?

Sorry for the delay.

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Hello JoI have emailed a response to this and typed out the information within the letter.Thank you
Tracee
Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Hi Jothe letter states the information below.Just to clarify this is the first he has received anything.Debt ManagementNational debt pursuit OfficeDear Sir/MadamPlease pay £1554.00 civil evasion penalty in respect of cigarettes seized on the 24th August 2014 at Birmingham Airport.We have repeatedly tried to contact you about the tax you owe, but our records show that we have not received any response from you.We will now pass your debt to a debt collection agency.There is still time to stop us taking this action but you need to act fast.Call one of my team now on 03000 574998 to pay the money you owe or talk about the payment.Act now to stop us taking any further action.Yours faithfullyDebt managementthank youTracee Slater
Expert:  Jo C. replied 4 months ago.

Ok.

It is the tax duty fee then.

In that case, are you asking if they can enforce it?

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
At the time they told him at the airport that he shouldn't have brought so much back but this is an initial warning, unless he was caught doing it again.He hasn't done it again and this is the first we have heard about it since.
Expert:  Jo C. replied 4 months ago.

Obviously I don't know how much he brought over. However, they do usually charge the VAT upon the goods.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 4 months ago.

Although this sounds like a fixed penalty amount effectively.

That is what they call the evasion penalty.

They are entitled to levy that.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 4 months ago.

You will find information upon it here

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/vat-notice-730-civil-penalty-investigations-statement-of-practice

it is essentially a means of diverting mattes away from the courts.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 4 months ago.

Can I clarify anything for you?

Jo

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
HI JoWhy would he be told that as this was the first time that he would just receive a warning if they were going to charge the VAT?Tracee
Expert:  Jo C. replied 4 months ago.

They don't usually just deliver warnings anymore. The whole issue is hotting up.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 4 months ago.

What they may have meant is that they wouldnt prosecute.

It is difficult to comment really upon what another person meant.

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
you are unable to help then?Neil completed paperwork nearly two years ago at the airport and was told they wouldn't do anything about it this time, but if he does it again etc etc. Is there not a time limit on this, how come it is with a debt company?You are saying the payment has to be paid?thanks
Tracee
Expert:  Jo C. replied 4 months ago.

Unless you are prepared to risk prosecution I'm afraid it would seem to be due.

They were always going to levy a fine for the VAT whatever they said at the time.

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