HMRC - I think customs wrongly took my items – I want to get them back
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If HMRC has seized your belongings when you haven’t done anything wrong, you should use Resolver to ask for a court hearing.
- The reference number on the notice you got from customs.
- Your name and address.
- A list of the things you want back.
- Proof of ownership.
- For a vehicle, you’ll need proof of purchase.
- Import documents (if you have them).
- You’ll also need to explain why you think it was wrong for HMRC to seize your things.
There’s normally no time limit for asking for your things back – although your items may be sold or destroyed after 45 days (unless they’re perishable, in which case they may be sold or destroyed straight away).
If you do decide to take the matter to court, you should consider appointing a solicitor to represent you in court.You should know
- You should always try and resolve any problems with HMRC by talking with the person who has been dealing with you first.
- If this is impossible or has not resolved your issue, you should use Resolver to contact them.
- HMRC operates a tiered complaints system. Complaints will go through two tiers of service.
- If you are still unhappy, you can ask your MP to escalate your complaint to the Parliamentary and Health Ombudsman.
If you believe HMRC has not correctly followed procedure, it's always worthwhile to consider contacting them via Resolver. HMRC may offer compensation for any distress, delay, damage caused, or costs incurred by HMRC (such as the cost of having to hire an accountant).
It's worth knowing that HMRC have the right to take enforcement action to reclaim any debts (under certain conditions).
You should be aware, however, that HMRC field agents have no right of seizure. They might take note of the things you have (your assets), but they can't take any on the spot.
HMRC can level penalties for late payment. It's always worth contacting HMRC if you believe you might have been incorrectly penalised (or if serious circumstances stopped you from paying on time). HMRC will often consider any reasons you might have for late payment.
You should try and correct any mistakes with your tax as soon as possible.
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