Government seeking industry views on 'overly bureaucratic' warehousing regulation

Mon 30 Oct 2023
Posted by: William Barns-Graham
Trade News

HMRC update

The government is asking for industry feedback on potential changes to regulations concerning warehouse keeping and the storage of excise goods.

HMRC wrote to industry last week to announce a consultation period lasting until 29 November 2023 relating to potential changes to the Warehousekeepers and Owners of Warehoused Goods Regulations (WOWGR) 1999.

“We are currently reviewing the requirements for the registration and approval of warehousekeepers, owners of goods under duty suspension, and/or duty representatives storing excise goods warehoused in the UK,” it said.

Your views

In a letter to industry last week, HMRC’s Joint Customs Consultative Committee (JCCC) said it was seeking the views of businesses impacted by WOWGR in order to “gain a better understanding of whether businesses benefit from the provisions” in the regulations and to “identify any risks if WOWGR were reformed”.

Businesses can share their views by completing this questionnaire and returning it to the following email address: holding.movement@hmrc.gov.uk.

‘Important opportunity’

Suzanne Alecrim, a special projects team lead for the Institute of Export & International Trade (IOE&IT), said this was an “important opportunity” for businesses in the warehousing and excise industries to get their views across.

“Industry has been pushing for reforms of WOWGR for some time, with many expressing concerns that it has proven overly bureaucratic, with authorisation application processes often being duplicated.

“This consultation is therefore an important opportunity for impacted businesses to share their views about what is and isn’t working in the current regulations.”

‘Welcome move’

HMRC announced it was going to review WOWGR in 2022 in a move that was welcomed by representatives from the drinks and warehousing sectors.

Following initial reports last year that the government was considering revoking WOWGR, Alan Powell from the UK Warehousing Association (UKWA) said such a move would “lighten the load on the warehouse industry and eliminate wasted resources on the part of HMRC on matters that are of no practical use”.

Alan Powell, the founder and co-ordinator of the British Distillers Alliance (BDA), wrote on the Chartered Institute of Taxation’s website:

“This review is welcome. The WOWGR regime is a veritable pain for the spirits and beer industry, and, in my opinion, being disproportionate, it is not lawful, as I have submitted constantly to HMRC Policy on behalf of clients and the BDA.”