Seizures of Goods, Cash, property or vehicles Have you had goods or transport seized by HMRC? Do you want them back?

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If your goods have been seized by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) or the UK Border Agency, you can challenge the seizure and apply to have your goods returned. You should have been issued with either:

  • A Notice of Seizure (sent to you if you or your agent, if you were not present when the thing was seized); or
  • A Seizure Information Notice (handed to you or your agent if HMRC seized the thing in your or their presence).

The reason for the seizure should have been explained to the person present at the time of seizure. When customs officers seize goods in transit they can also seize the vehicle that is carrying the goods.

If you intend to challenge the seizure, then you have the following options, request Restoration and/or Condemnation. For either to work you Must Own The Goods. Between 2 UK companies, the Sale of Goods Act defines ownership as passing on the making of a contract. If you are trading with an EU company, unless specified in a contract which country’s rule of law is being adhered to, it is usually the law of the sellers country that will define the ownership.

Appeal against the legality of the seizure by sending HMRC or UK Border Agency a Notice of Claim; or Ask HMRC in writing to return the seized item(s) to you, even if you accept that HMRC or UK Border Agency had a legal right to seize it. This is called Restoration. There is a separate appeals process for people who are dissatisfied with decisions about returning things. This involves an internal review, followed by a right to appeal to an independent Tribunal.

Altion Law can assist in contesting the legality of the seizure and negotiating with HMRC to return the seized item(s) in the meantime. Prompt action is of utmost importance where goods have been seized. Altion Law have substantial experience of managing Restoration negotiations with HMRC and appeals. We have experience in handling Condemnation proceedings at court and are able to provide effective and prompt advice.

Click here to download our handout-seizure-of-goods or call our office to speak to our team on 01908 414990.

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