DPP Business Tax

HMRC Seized Goods

If Customs or HMRC seized your goods, DPP Business & Tax can provide legal support by helping you to write a notice of claim or a restoration letter. We can also represent you if you decide to make a claim for unfair treatment, or if your HMRC Seized goods are being treated as evidence of crime.

One of the roles of HMRC is the collection of customs duties for items being shipped from other countries, and the seizure of goods. The latter may occur if a package has been illegally transported or its shipping or VAT is paid incorrectly.

We advise that you seek legal advice immediately if you feel your goods have been seized unlawfully, or if you have received a seizure information notice.

What Happens if Customs Seizes An Illegal Package?

Customs are entitled to destroy or sell anything they have confiscated as the result of goods seizures if they consider the owner has broken the rules on bringing in items from abroad. However, the owner can prevent this by:

Requesting the seized goods’ return

If it is admitted that the rules have been broken, and any required steps are taken to rectify the issue – such as the payment of extra charges – a request may be made for the property’s return.

Disagreeing with customs for the HMRC seized goods 

It can also be argued that the articles in question should never have been seized at all. This will involve a court appearance.

Customs can also seize items or money under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 or the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (PACE) if they suspect that they are evidence of a crime. If this occurs, the owner will receive a warning letter about HMRC seized goods which will also detail the steps to be taken if they wish to contest this action.

DPP Business & Tax solicitors can assist you with any of the above eventualities.

How Do You Know if Customs Seizes Your Package

If your package has been confiscated by HMRC, you should be duly informed by way of a notice of seizure of goods letter detailing what has happened and why.

What Happens if my Goods are Seized by HMRC?

Often, it can simply be a case of sending a formal notice of claim to HMRC to formally request your items back. On other occasions, you will have to seek legal advice, especially if you think that the seizure of goods is unfair. On rare occasions, you may be arrested if customs or border force staff consider you complicit in a crime, and in these circumstances it’s certainly worth seeking legal assistance.

Can the seized goods be returned?

In some circumstances, the confiscated items can be purchased back from HMRC or the UK Border Agency, pending a decision. However, in cases where the item is hazardous, it may be destroyed very shortly after it has been seized.

Under these circumstances, a case may be taken to court claiming that the goods should not have been seized in the first place, and, if successful, the owner may be eligible for compensation.

In June 2018, a mother was forced to fight for her severely epileptic child’s right to have his medically prescribed cannabis oil returned after it was confiscated by customs. The substance was not legally available in the UK but its use had been permitted by her young son’s doctor and was the only thing proven to improve his extreme symptoms. Luckily, the family won and the oil was returned.

Our dedicated team of Business & Tax Solicitors have decades of experience in handling cases of HMRC seizure of goods. Contact us here as soon as possible to discuss your next steps.

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