Customs examination powers (CIP7/2018)

Find out about the extension of powers to the examination of goods away from ports, airports and other approved places under customs control.


Customs Information Paper 65 (2016) sets out the proposal to introduce legislation to extend the powers officers currently have under section 24 of the Finance Act 1994. This will improve their capability to examine goods away from ports, airports and other approved places, under customs control, inland after clearance.


The amendment to section 24 of the Finance Act 1994, introduced in the Finance Act 2018, clarifies that officers can move, open or unpack goods or containers, or require them to be opened or unpacked. They can also search the containers and anything in them, as well as mark them as necessary where there is reasonable cause to believe they contain customs goods.

The amendment to the power is necessary to improve the capability of officers to examine goods, post clearance, to determine that the correct amount of duty has been paid. The restriction that the power only applied to visible goods affected HMRC’s ability to properly take account of goods post clearance.

By removing that restriction this power improves HMRC officers’ capability to bring to account any unpaid customs duties, or remove those goods from the market, thereby creating a level playing field for compliant businesses.

All compliance activity undertaken under section 24 will be carried out during business hours, most of which will be pre-booked, routine compliance visits.

There are safeguards in place to ensure officers’ application of the power will be proportionate and necessary using the Powers of entry: code of practice.


For further information please contact Marilyn Seago on telephone: 03000 593 391 or email enquiries.excise&

You can also write to:

Excise and Customs Law Team
7th Floor SW
Alexander House
21 Victoria Avenue
Southend on Sea
SS99 1AA

Issued on 10 May 2018 by Customer Strategy and Tax Design, Customs Directorate, HMRC.

• support: (t) 01784 240400 (e)
• sales: (t) 01784 242200 (e)