C18 forms are issued by Customs to collect underpaid customs duties and import VAT, usually as a result of their findings during an audit.  Increasingly, we are noticing high incidences of mistakes by Customs in the demands they are issuing.  Often, these mistakes are caused by a lack of full investigation of the facts leading to a jump to an incorrect conclusion.  There is also an undoubted increase in pressure on Customs to collect revenue - seemingly regardless of whether or not it is properly due.  There are also some very basic errors creeping in - for example, a demand for import VAT going back for three years, but all calculated at the current VAT rate of 20%, instead of applied at the rates in force for the time of each import during the period.

Payment of these demands is being aggressively pursued by Customs, with threats of winding up action being sent only a matter of weeks following the demand.  Anybody receiving a C18 demand should be aware that it does not have to be paid whilsts it is disputed and under reconsideration through the customs review process, however, it may need to be secured by a guarantee if the dispute escalates to a tribunal appeal.

If you have received a C18 demand and want to know how to seek a review, please get in touch. 

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    Ian Worth

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