Criminal Investigation and the Keith Report — Volume Four

Published date01 October 1985
Date01 October 1985
AuthorGavin McFarlane
Subject MatterArticle
LL.M., Ph.D.,
Barrister at Law.
In 1980 the Government announced the establishment of a
Committee on the Enforcement Powers of the Revenue
Departments; it sat under the chairmanship of Lord Keith of
Kinkel, and Volumes I and 2, which dealt with income tax,
corporation tax, capital gains tax and value added tax were
published in February, 1983. Volume 3, which considered the
remaining taxes controlled by the Inland Revenue, was presented in
November, 1983. Now in February, 1985, the fourth and final
volume has been published. This deals with those taxes under the
care and management of the Commissioners of Customs and
Excise: other than value added tax.
These other taxes fall under three broad headings. The first is
excise duties; these are made up of hydrocarbon oil duties, tobacco
products duties, duties on alcoholic beverages, duties on betting
and gaming, duties on matches and mechanical lighters, and some
minor excise duties. The second broad division is that of customs
duties and agricultural levies, which are charged on goods imported
into this country. The third division is car tax, which is levied on
cycles and
caravans. Together with VAT, these
receipts from customs and excise activities account for broadly half
the income of the National Exchequer. As the Department of
Customs and Excise is also responsible for dealing with
prohibitions on importation and exportation, it is scarcely
it is now the second largest authority prosecuting on
anational scale. Because of the specialized nature of its work, the
independence of its prosecuting function has been guaranteed after
the establishment of the Crown Prosecuting Service. This is
reinforced by Recommendation 140 of the Keith Report, which is
to the effect
the role of Customs and Excise as a separate
prosecuting authority should be maintained.
Investigating Customs and Excise Offences
Asubstantial part of Volume 4 of the Keith Report is devoted to the
investigation of crimes arising from the customs and excise laws.
Many of the recommendations in this area will be of interest to
those concerned with police investigation. In all criminal
investigations by Customs and Excise of tax fraud, the code of
practice applied to the Department's investigators in the provision
284 October /985

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