A failure to provide accurate and complete information to HMRC in relation to a quantity of goods on which Inward Processing Relief (IPR) has been claimed, gives rise to a customs debt on all the goods covered by the relevant bill of discharge report. This was decided by the UK First Tier Tribunal (FTT) in the case Thyssenkrupp Materials (UK) Ltd v HMRC on 30 November 2022.
In Thyssenkrupp Materials (UK) Ltd v HMRC, Thyssenkrupp had submitted incompatible bills of discharge to HMRC in two different formats: on the CHIEF system and in Excel spreadsheet format. In the case, HMRC made the point that, if an entry on the CHIEF system is incorrect, and the entry in the bill of discharge is correct, Thyssenkrupp should have made a post clearance amendment to correct the incorrect entry on the CHIEF system and should have referred to the post clearance amendment in the relevant bill of discharge.
In support of Thyssenkrupp, one of the arguments presented referred to the Court of Justice judgment in Döhler Neuenkirchen GmbH v Hauptzollamt Oldenburg (Case C-262/10) and the principle of proportionality. However, the FTT did not accept the argument and noted that in the same judgment the Court of Justice had confirmed that, in circumstances where the IPR conditions are not met, the obligation to pay customs duties is not a penalty. The FTT considered that the Court of Justice judgment supported the approach taken by HMRC and dismissed the appeal.
The decision is a reminder that HMRC takes a strict approach to IPR compliance obligations and that failure to comply with these rules can be costly for the trader.