Q: How will HMRC ensure that goods are not tampered with en route to IBFs? Apart from the deterrent of penalties, how will HMRC ensure that this does not happen in practice? For example, will HGVs be sealed when they leave the ferry so that it is clear that they have not been tampered with? What happens if a driver needs a comfort break and stops en route to the IBF? How will HMRC ensure that someone does not tamper with the goods when the driver might not be aware? There are practical concerns about the length of the route to some IBFs, for example near Holyhead, which could provide opportunities to tamper with the goods being transported.
A: The Government’s priority is to keep goods moving and avoid delays at the border. As the customs authority, HMRC will act to ensure that border processes are as smooth as possible, without compromising security. HMRC will continue to use a risk based, intelligence-led response to compliance issues working alongside Border Force.
HMRC has a strong track record in tackling all kinds of avoidance, evasion and non-compliance. Beyond the introduction of a civil penalty for failure to comply with these requirements acting as an upstream compliance tool to minimise non-compliance, HMRC will continue to employ an end-to-end approach to tackling customs risks. This includes:
HMRC has sought to mitigate any fiscal risks in a number of ways, including working alongside Border Force to maintain compliance at the border through risk-based and targeted checks to detect, prevent and respond to fraud and other deliberate non-compliant activity; including tampering.
HMRC will be monitoring the risk of tampering though intelligence-led activity and where appropriate seek to respond to any identified evidence on the presentation of goods at the IBF through compliance interventions.
In the longer-term HMRC are exploring technological solutions and other compliance measures which will enable us to better monitor and secure movements between the port and inland facilities, including mitigating instances of tampering.
Goods are subject to the control of an HMRC officer from the time of importation until they are discharged from the free-circulation procedure. It is important traders and those involved in the transporting of goods conduct appropriate due diligence on their supply chain to ensure they are aware of their responsibilities.
HMRC will continue to ensure that everyone plays by the same rules, safeguarding public trust by creating a level playing field for individuals and businesses.
13 December 2021