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Rights and obligations for seized goods

BIFA receives regular enquiries with regards to what are Traders rights and HMRC and Border Force obligations when goods/vehicles are seized.

Public Notice 12a, which has been re-issued, gives important advice and information about what to do if you have had your goods seized by HMRC or Border Force. It applies to the seizure of things, such as goods and vehicles, under section 139 of the Customs and Excise Management Act 1979.

It does not apply to seizures carried out under any other law.

Details of the goods seized from you will be listed on one of the following:

  • a seizure information notice handed to you or your agent if goods seized in your or their presence – the reason for the seizure should be explained to the person present at the time of the seizure
  • a notice of seizure sent to you if you or your agent are not present when the goods are seized

The information in this notice covers seizures by both HMRC and Border Force because the process is the same even though they are separate government organisations. However, it gives different contact details for HMRC and Border Force. It is important that you contact the correct organisation, depending on which one seized the goods from you, so your case can be dealt with promptly.

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