This article is designed to briefly explain the rules when the Border Agency or HMRC seize goods from you and where that seizure was lawful.
If, for example, goods are imported under the wrong tariff code, the Border Agency have the power in certain circumstances to seize the goods. However, you can apply for the goods to be restored (returned) to you if it is reasonable to do so.
Both the Border Agency and HMRC often seize goods and refuse to restore them even though it would be reasonable to do so, and this is where we can assist.
In this situation, you ask the Border Force/HMRC to appoint and independent Officer for a Review and carefully detail how HMRC took matters into account that were not relevant or did not take relevant matters into account. What is often not known is that you are permitted to provide additional material that the Officer did not have before them when making that decision, so making sure the full case is presented to the Review Officer.
If the Review Officer does not reverse the decision, you can appeal to the First-Tier Tax Tribunal. At that hearing, you must again show that HMRC took matters into account that were not relevant or did not take relevant matters into account. HMRC will write to say that the case must be exceptional for goods to be restored, but this is not true and you must simply show the decision was unreasonable.
This article is also to make people aware that it is harder to have goods restored if the seizure was lawful and to remind people to challenge the legality of the seizure if they believe it is incorrect. You cannot later challenge the legality when appealing the restoration point.
Please give us a call so that we can initially discuss your case and advise on the best route forward.