The Upper Tribunal handed down judgment in HMRC v International Plywood (Importers) Ltd [2023] UKUT 00278 (TCC), allowing HMRC’s appeal against the decision of the FTT in a customs classification case. The case concerned HMRC’s decision to issue a demand for over £270,000 in customs duty and VAT upon the correct classification of plywood panels.

Gideon represented HMRC before the FTT and the Upper Tribunal, and was instructed by Emily Mills at HMRC.

The case concerned the proper classification of plywood panels used for concrete construction (‘shuttering’). Allowing the appeal, the UT gave helpful guidance on the correct approach to customs classification in accordance with the GIRs and Build-A-Bear Workshop, and the use of EC Classification Regulations in interpreting and applying the CN and the Harmonised System Explanatory Notes (HSENs). Gideon successfully argued that the FTT had failed to properly apply the HSENs, in particular, that the wording of the HSEN indicated that the objective characteristics did not reveal the panels’ intended use as shuttering, and that the HSEN had to be understood in light of the EC Classification Regulation.