FWD calls for a cross-industry effort to prevent duty fraud

The Federation of Wholesale Distributors is calling for industry co-operation to prevent the illegal sale of duty-unpaid alcohol on the UK market after the National Audit Office criticised HM Revenue amp; Customs for failing to engage the supply chain in tackling the issue.

In its report on the effectiveness of HMRC’s Renewed Alcohol strategy, NAO found that there had been “no tangible success” in working with industry to reduce the volume of alcohol legally moved to other EU countries with excise duties unpaid, but then diverted back into the UK for illegal sale.

It concluded that HMRC’s key task to work with businesses to develop practical measures to secure supply chains had not been achieved. “The level of popular UK brands of canned beer supplied to the near continent in duty suspense remains unchanged,” the report said.

FWD has worked closely with NAO over the two years of its investigation. Chief executive James Bielby said: “We welcome NAO’s analysis of the strategy and share its assessment of the lack of success in preventing diversion fraud. The illegal sale of alcohol is the responsibility of the entire supply chain and we would like to see all stakeholders helping HMRC by providing data on the movement and export of beers, wines and spirits in order to accurately assess the extent of the problem.

“FWD appreciates HMRC’s efforts in recent months to consult industry on potential anti-fraud measures including fiscal marks on beer. We will continue to engage with the Department as it develops its proposals.”

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