Customs and Excise

30 May 2012

The SWA works with HMRC on a range of technical issues relating to procedures and controls.

Alcohol fraud

Avoidance of paying duty on excise goods such as Scotch Whisky damages legitimate businesses and diverts money from public services. It is often carried out by organised criminals getting goods onto market without paying taxes.

HMRC estimates that in 2009 up to £440m in revenue was lost to the Treasury.  While the SWA might not always agree with HMRC about how to estimate and tackle duty evasion, it takes alcohol fraud very seriously. The SWA works closely with HMRC and the legitimate trade to help understand where and how alcohol fraud occurs. 

In 2005, the SWA signed a landmark Memorandum of Understanding, a formal undertaking to co-operate and to signal that spirits fraud will not be tolerated. The agreement with HMRC was refreshed in 2008. 

Excise Movement and Control System

The Operational and Technical Affairs team has worked with HMRC on the implementation of the new EU Excise Movement and Control System (EMCS). EMCS captures and processes information on all movements of excise goods in duty suspension within the European Union. 

EMCS replaced the old paper system for all UK traders dispatching or receiving duty suspended excise goods to and from EU Member States from 1 January 2011.   

The SWA continues to work closely with HMRC to help resolve initial teething problems with the new system to ensure a fair and workable trading environment for its members.