Budget Notes

BN99 CHANGES TO CUSTOMS POWERS

Who is likely to be affected?

1. Airport, port, wharf and transit shed operators; and individuals and businesses involved in the import and export of goods.

General description of the measure

2. Legislation will be introduced in Finance Bill 2008 to clarify the powers of HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) to examine and search goods and baggage being imported and exported.

Operative date

3. The changes will come into effect from the date that Finance Bill 2008 receives Royal Assent.

Current law and proposed revisions

4. Section 159(1) of the Customs and Excise Management Act 1979 gives officers the power to examine goods which are being imported or exported. Officers may for this purpose require that any containers are opened and unpacked.

5. The measure will amend section 159(1) to allow customs officers to open and unpack containers themselves, should they think it necessary, rather than insisting that it is done by the proprietor of the goods. The changes will also make clear that HMRC's powers of examination extend to searching containers and baggage.

Further advice

6. If you have any questions about this change, please contact Marie Campbell on 01702 361780 (email: marie.campbell@hmrc.gsi.gov.uk). Information about Budget measures is available on the HM Revenue & Customs website at www.hmrc.gov.uk