CCP05025 - Procedures to follow for penalty officers: Setting penalties: Specific circumstances
The guidance at CCP05010 to CCP05070 is for Civil Penalty Officers (CPOs).
Common Agricultural Policy
Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) exports are subject to an EC penalty regime administered by the Rural Payment Agency (RPA) and arrangements are in place to ensure that contraventions are dealt with by either HMRC or the RPA but not both. In case of doubt speak with the CAP team in CITEX.
Contraventions discovered on audit/Compliance event
If a trader is audited within the two year period of validity of a Warning Letter or Penalty Notice, any repetition of the contraventions concerned should result in escalation of the level of Customs Civil Penalty (CCP) action. For example, a Penalty Notice where the last action was a Warning Letter, and a higher penalty where the last action was a Penalty Notice.
Where several identical contraventions are discovered during an audit within the Warning Letter period, for example, a classification error in respect of the same type of goods, these should be treated as a single contravention for penalty purposes.
Serious errors should be penalised individually but at the same rate for the whole period under audit, that is, without any escalation through the penalty steps. On completion of the audit, one or more Penalty Notices will be issued and then if, on a subsequent audit, further serious errors are found, they will normally be charged individually at the next higher amount.
If the next audit takes place, say, three and a half years after the issue of the Warning Letter, not only will the warning have lapsed, but part of the period covered by the letter will be outside the three year time limit for assessing penalties. Penalties can still be charged for contraventions that occurred both less than three years previously and before the lapsing of the Warning Letter. For contraventions occurring after the period covered by the Warning Letter, CCP action may be limited to the issue of a new Warning Letter. However, in the case of serious errors, see CCP03020, or where traders have failed to comply with written instructions from HMRC, a Penalty Notice may be issued, see CCP02010. Remember that a Penalty Notice starts a new two year period from the date of issue.
Note that there is a cap of £25,000 on the total value of penalties (per site) issued as a result of a single compliance check.