Finance Bill Tracking Service 2009 | Budget 2009

BN93 CHANGES TO CUSTOMS POWERS

Who is likely to be affected?

1. International travellers using major airports.

General description of the measure

2. Legislation will be introduced in Finance Bill 2009 to clarify when HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) officers and, following Royal Assent of the Borders Citizenship and Immigration Bill, officers of the UK Border Agency (UKBA) can use their powers to check EU travellers and to verify whether travellers are arriving from the EU.

Operative date

3. The changes will have effect on and after the date that Finance Bill 2009 receives Royal Assent.

Current law and proposed revisions

4. Section 4 of the Finance (No.2) Act 1992 limits the use of certain customs powers in relation to movements between Member States to circumstances where an officer has reasonable grounds to believe that:

•    the movement in question is not in fact between Member States; or

•    situations when it is necessary to exercise the power for purposes connected with the collection of Community customs duties or the enforcement of any import prohibition or restriction.

5. The measure will amend section 4 to allow Customs Officers to exercise their powers in order to check whether a movement is in fact between the Member States, without having to have reasonable grounds for believing that the movement is not in fact between Member States.

6. The measure will also clarify that officers can make selective and proportionate checks to collect Community customs duties or enforce import prohibitions and restrictions, without having to demonstrate reasonable belief that such checks are necessary in each case.

7. These clarifications of Customs powers are necessary to enable HMRC and UKBA to deliver a single primary border checkpoint for EU and non-EU travellers.

Further advice

8. If you have any questions about this change, please contact Anne Treadaway on 01702 361934 (email: anne.treadaway@hmrc.gsi.gov.uk). Information about Budget measures is available on the HM Revenue & Customs website at www.hmrc.gov.uk