Greenalls Management Ltd v Customs and Excise: HL 12 May 2005

Volumes of vodka were transferred from a secure warehouse to a carrier for export. They were diverted, and not exported and the Customs sought the unpaid duty from the warehouse. The Directive provided that duty was payable on the ‘release for consumption’ which in turn included ‘any departure, including irregular departure, from a suspension arrangement.’ The goods became dutiable but payment was suspended during transit to a port. Customs said that the alcohol became dutiable once they were diverted.
Held: The Regulations clearly provided for the warehouse keeper to be the person liable for the duty. It was not possible to read into the Regulations an implication of the duty becoming payable only when goods were released to consumers from the warehouse. Appeal allowed. Lord Walker Of Gestingthorpe: If Parliament is to impose fiscal liabilities which might be regarded as draconian it should do so in terms which, fairly construed, are reasonably clear. The 1992 Regulations are remarkably obscure. However the warehousekeeper, though apparently innocent of blame had to pay the tax.

Lord Nicholls Of Birkenhead Lord Steyn Lord Hoffmann Lord Hope Of Craighead Lord Walker Of Gestingthorpe
[2005] UKHL 34, Times 16-May-2005, [2005] 1 WLR 1754
Bailii, House of Lords
Council Directive (92/12/EEC) of 25 February 1992, Customs and Excise Management Act 1979 1, The Excise Goods (Holding, Movement, Warehousing and REDS) Regulations 1992 (SI 1992/3135) 4
England and Wales
CitedG van de Water v Staatssecretaris van Financien ECJ 5-Apr-2001
(Judgment) Article 6 (1) of the Directive was designed to establish the point in time at which the excise duty becomes actually chargeable, but not to determine the person from whom the duty should be claimed. Any production, processing, holding or . .
Appeal fromGreenalls Management Ltd v Commissioners of Customs and Excise CA 26-Jun-2003
The appellant operated an approved storage facility, holding alcoholic drinks. Drinks were to be exported, and were released on that basis. They were later diverted and sold within the UK market, evading the appropriate duty. The company appealed a . .
CitedCommissioners of Customs and Excise v Anglo German Breweries Limited ChD 29-Nov-2002
The respondents appealed against imposition of assessments for the diversion of alcohol products from bonded warehouses without payment of duties. Pretence had been made of deliveries abroad, but the goods were later diverted. The company was . .
CitedCommissioners of Inland Revenue v McGuckian HL 21-May-1997
Steps which had been inserted into a commercial transaction, but which had no purpose other than the saving of tax are to be disregarded when assessing the tax effect of the scheme. The modern approach to statutory construction is to have regard to . .
CitedW T Ramsay Ltd v Inland Revenue Commissioners HL 12-Mar-1981
The taxpayers used schemes to create allowable losses, and now appealed assessment to tax. The schemes involved a series of transactions none of which were a sham, but which had the effect of cancelling each other out.
Held: If the true nature . .
CitedPfeiffer v Deutsches Rotes Kreuz, Kreisverband Waldshut eV (1) ECJ 5-Oct-2004
ECJ Reference for a preliminary ruling: Arbeitsgericht Lorrach – Germany. Social policy – Protection of the health and safety of workers – Directive 93/104/EC – Scope – Emergency workers in attendance in . .
CitedCommissioners of Customs and Excise v First Choice Holidays Plc CA 29-Jul-2004
The VAT to be paid by tour organisers on package holidays was to calculated upon the sum charged to the consumer, not the discounted sum charged to the travel agent. . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Customs and Excise

Updated: 31 October 2021; Ref: scu.224854