The First-tier Tribunal have considered the case of Polakova v HMRC  UKFTT 31 (TC).
Ms Polakova arrived at Stansted airport with a suitcase containing 29,800 cigarettes. She received an assessment for excise duties and penalties.
She appealed on the grounds that the cigarettes had been for personal use and that she did not have the money to pay.
The appeal against the duty was struck out as she had not challenged the seizure in the Magistrate’s Court.
The penalty was upheld. In calculating the size of the penalty, it was clear from the facts of the case that her actions had been deliberate.
The fact that the cigarettes had been found meant that any disclosure was prompted and as she had never admitted any wrong-doing there was no basis for any reduction under the “telling” category. Not being able to afford the duty or the penalty were no grounds for appeal.
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