Customs and excise in London

Pinsent Masons LLP

The tax-focused customs and excise team at Pinsent Masons LLP is pre-eminent in advising major brewing companies on the classification and valuation of duty matters, as well as HMRC investigations relating to excise fraud and litigation. The group also advises retailers and manufacturers on supply-chain issues, and is often instructed on due diligence projects. The group is led by tax litigator Stuart Walsh and includes Jake Landman.

Practice head(s):

Stuart Walsh

Other key lawyers:

Jake Landman

Baker McKenzie

Baker McKenzie's team has substantial experience of assisting companies with HMRC-led customs and excise investigations and appeals. The group has developed an exceptionally strong practice advising clients on the challenges presented by Brexit and trade wars, while also being able to draw on expertise from the wider firm's global office network. Sitting in the EU competition and trade department, Jennifer Revis heads the group, focusing on international trade and compliance issues - she has 'a great mix of business acumen and trade expertise'. Ross Denton focuses on the public regulation of international trade, customs, export controls and sanctions, as does associate Jessica Mutton.

Practice head(s):

Jennifer Revis

Other key lawyers:

Ross Denton; Jessica Mutton

Testimonials

‘The team demonstrates a high level of expertise in this area. They respond quickly and effectively in addressing excise disputes involving multiple jurisdictions.’

‘For several years, Jennifer Revis has been our go-to person for excise matters. She is highly experienced and knowledgeable and very adept in co-ordinating support, when needed, from fellow experts located in other countries.’

‘Very wide spectrum of detailed knowledge. Always up to date with the latest developments, rulings and legislation. The areas of the business they were looking into for us were always followed up upon in case of any changes to legislation or introduction of any new requirements.’

‘The team are very professional, extremely knowledgeable, approachable and overall just nice individuals. I admire their personal approach of cooperation and how they investigate various solutions to specific situations. Their services are not restricted to just data analysis, resulting in the one solution.’

‘Jenny Revis and her team are strong experts who are very responsive and business oriented. They are a pleasure to work with, especially when faced with tight deadlines on complex issues.’

‘Jenny Revis has a great mix of business acumen and trade expertise – she delivers complex advice on time and on budget which is great news for in-house lawyers managing deadlines and budgets.’

‘Knowledgeable across the EU and with valuable guidance in the specifics of each country. Able to see the business side of how to proceed.’

‘Jennifer Revis has an excellent manner with all levels in our company; she is knowledgeable, asks the right questions and sees the business nuances in the work.’

 

Key clients

Harley-Davidson

Work highlights

  • On the back of EU retaliatory duties against the US, Harley-Davidson announced, as part of its global manufacturing optimisation, that it would move part of its manufacturing operations from the US to its existing Thailand facility to avoid the imposition of the EU tariffs on US-origin motorcycles. Baker McKenzie led a year-long complex negotiation resulting in the EU customs authority finding in favour of Harley-Davidson.

DLA Piper

At DLA Piper, the customs and excise group is composed of international trade and tax experts, and is able to draw on specialists across EU member states, the US, Asia and Russia. International trade and customs lawyer John Forrest heads the team in London, which advises companies operating in the UK on matters including the impact of Brexit on supply chains, as well as day-to-day issues such as customs audits and investigations and duty-relief schemes. Indirect tax veteran Richard Woolich regularly advises on the cross-border supply of goods, while Paul Hardy coordinates the firm's Brexit-related matters.

Practice head(s):

John Forrest

Other key lawyers:

Richard Woolich; Paul Hardy

Testimonials

Wide jurisdictional practice to cover global needs.’

Key clients

Deckers Europe

Coveris

PICO Global

NEC Europe

NJOY

Smile Direct Club

Sumitomo Electric Group

Vita Group

Fragrance Oils (Purchasing)

Molson Coors Brewing Company

Arconic Inc

Work highlights

  • Providing advice to Molson Coors in relation to the customs and excise related impacts of Brexit on the company’s supply chain. The advice provided has included assessing new customs duty rates under the UK Temporary Trade Tariff, the operation of the Excise Movement Control System post-Brexit, the application of the Common Transit Convention, the use of customs bonded warehouses to obtain customs duty and import VAT relief and the customs implications of trading across the Ireland/Northern Ireland border.
  • Providing customs advice to PICO Global as part of a Brexit Roadmap work product, containing a legal impact assessment and associated recommendations for contingency planning and risk mitigation measures, in respect of all areas of material legal risk posed by Brexit to Pico’s operations.
  • Providing advice to Deckers Europe in relation to the UK and Dutch customs implications of a corporate restructuring, including analysis of duty deferment relief, the use of customs bonded warehousing, and the application of the UK’s Transitional Simplified Customs Procedures and Customs Freight Simplified Procedures.

PwC LLP

PwC LLP's team has strong experience of customs and excise investigations and litigation, as well as advising on the interpretation and operation of international treaties. The group is led by veteran tax litigator David Anderson, whose clients encompass retailers, manufacturers and local authorities. Manager Prinal Nathwani is noted as 'an effective litigator, and a pleasure to work with', focusing on contentious customs and excise issues and aggregates levy matters.

Practice head(s):

David Anderson

Other key lawyers:

Jayne Harrold; Prinal Nathwani

Testimonials

A highly effective team of solicitors, in-house barristers and accountants with unrivalled specialist knowledge of this sector. Involved in many of the cutting-edge pieces of litigation challenging HMRC decisions.’

David Anderson is calm in a crisis – proficient, personable and effective.’

Prinal Nathwani is an effective litigator, and a pleasure to work with.’

Key clients

Aggregate Industries

Fife Council and Fife Resource Solutions LLP

Infinis Energy Holdings Limited

Drax Power Limited

Brother Industries UK Ltd

FCC Environment UK Limited

Sita UK Ltd

Work highlights

  • Managing a complex investigation into alleged under-declarations of customs duties, spanning more than 20 jurisdictions and valued between £20m and £40m.
  • Advised Brother Industries UK Ltd and Brother UK Ltd  in connection with a dispute concerning classification of goods for customs purposes.
  • Appointed to advise in connection with a high value recovery of overpaid Air Passenger Duty, including providing data analytics solutions to management of client data in order to quantify and evidence the required repayment claims.

RPC

RPC's team specialises in assisting clients with issues relating to customs and excise, anti-dumping, landfill tax and aggregates levies, as well as HMRC investigations. The group, which is led by Adam Craggs, includes Michelle Sloane, an honorary legal adviser to the Bonded Warehouse Association - she stands out for her work on customs and excise duty disputes.

Practice head(s):

Adam Craggs

Other key lawyers:

Robert Waterson; Michelle Sloane

Testimonials

Excellent subject knowledge and calm, thoughtful advice.

Michelle Sloane and Adam Craggs communicate excellently. They are calm and reassuring.’

 

Key clients

FMX Food Merchants Import Export Co Ltd

Frasers Group PLC (Sports Direct)

Morgan Sindall

Work highlights

  • Acted for FMX Food Merchants Import Export Co Ltd in Supreme Court Appeal regarding whether HMRC could rely on an extended limitation period in the Community Customs Code for the notification of under-declared customs duty.
  • Acting for a large retailer in respect of anti-dumping duty on bicycles imported from Bangladesh.
  • Legal adviser to members of the Bonded Warehouse Association on customs and excise duty issues.

BCL Solicitors LLP

BCL Solicitors LLP specialises in crime, investigations and regulatory enforcement, and is 'well-known for its expertise in dealing with criminal tax investigations'. The London firm's team is often instructed on customs and excise matters where there are allegations of fraud, drawing on its broader corporate criminal defence expertise. The group is led by seasoned tax litigator Harry Travers.

Practice head(s):

Harry Travers

Testimonials

Harry Travers is enormously respected by the market, and has almost unparalleled experience of HMRC investigations.’

‘BCL are well-known for their expertise in dealing with criminal tax investigations. They are amongst the top tier of firms that combine criminal law and tax expertise.’

‘Their tax practice boasts a number of key players in the market, notably Michael Drury and Harry Travers.  Michael brings both tactical nous and a manner and approach that clients love.  A pleasure to work with and alongside.’

Work highlights

  • Continuing to act for partners of Optimal Compliance Services LLP (OCS) in relation to a criminal investigation by HMRC.  HMRC suspect OCS of misrepresenting the reality of a tax saving scheme, causing the loss of at least £9 million to HMRC.