Catalogue description Customs and Excise: Accounting Services Division: Beer Duty Database

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Details of CUST 134
Reference: CUST 134
Title: Customs and Excise: Accounting Services Division: Beer Duty Database

The function of the Beer Duty dataset is to record the receipt of monthly returns of Beer Duty (Ex46) owed by registered brewers, and to make this information available to control officers on a nation-wide basis. It also controls the collection of VAT due on beer (EX46(VAT)) which is VAT due on alcoholic beverages under the Value Added Tax Act (VATA) Section 18.

The system also provided statistics to those other sections of HM Customs and Excise which needed the information. Various reports produced by the Beer duty system include those showing the statistics for all the brewer returns in a particular collection/country in a specified period; all outstanding returns for brewers; beer duty statistics for the UK in specified collections. The system also produces Registration Certificates and both blank EX46 and EX46(VAT).

The datasets in this series are available to download. Links to individual datasets can be found at piece level.

Date: 1993-2003

Operating System: At time of first transfer, 1998, the OS was MS-DOS, version 6.2 and Windows version 3.11, running on a Novell network. In 2002 it was running under Windows NT 4.

Application Software: The earlier version of the Beer Duty System used a DataEase, version 4.53 database. This was developed during 1995 and 1996 and migrated to a Microsoft Access, version 2.0 database. In 2002, the Beer Duty System migrated to Access 2000.

Logical Structure and Schema: Following the Fundamental Expenditure Review in 1995, the boundaries of the Collections changed. This meant that the arrangement of the data held within the Beer Duty system was considerably affected. As well as the old Collection record, a new record was set up indicating the new Collections.

As a result, the original Data Ease dataset for the North West Collection was adapted in December 1995 when a draft version of a replacement system was designed. This was written in Microsoft Access version 2, the new Departmental standard database software program. This system was further adapted with the introduction of the new EX46(VAT) form.

How data was originally captured and validated: The data was input via on screen forms. Methods of internal validation were carried out such as sample checking of data entry and the use of repeating questions. When a registration was set up on the system they were issued with a unique reference number and accounting number. All details of the registration and addresses were set up on file. As each period of returns was set up on the system the details are drawn from these records.

The Beer Duty System was dynamic, in the sense that new information was entered into the existing database.

Held by: The National Archives, Kew
Former reference in The National Archives: CRDA/19
Legal status: Public Record(s)
Language: English

Board of Customs and Excise, 1909-2005

Physical description: 3 datasets and documentation
Restrictions on use: Access to the Beer Duty dataset is restricted under the Finance Act, 1989, section 182. An LCI for a closure period of 75 years has been granted. Crown Copyright; copies may be made for private study and research purposes only. Registered under the Data Protection Act. Subject access is not permitted. This exemption is claimed under Part IV of the Act which relates to Crime and Taxation exemptions.
Access conditions: Subject to 75 year closure
Immediate source of acquisition:

In 2010 the United Kingdom National Digital Archive of Datasets

Custodial history: Originally transferred from the Boar of Customs and Excise. The United Kingdom National Digital Archive of Datasets (NDAD) then held the datasets until 2010 when they were transferred to The National Archives (TNA).
Accruals: Further accruals may occur.
Publication note:

HMRC Notice 226 Beer Duty, April 1997 explains the effects of the law and regulations covering the production, storage and accounting for duty on beer.

Unpublished finding aids:

Extent of documentation: 69 documents, Dates of creation of documentation: 1993-2003

Administrative / biographical background:

The Beer duty system was developed by the Information Systems section of HM Customs and Excise as well as the North West Collection IS Projects Team with discussions taking place with the Beer Duty Seat staff.

The beer duty dataset is a record of beer duty paid in the United Kingdom and of those brewers obliged to register under Sections 41A and 47 of the Alcoholic Liquor Duties Act 1979 and hold beer without payment of duty. In the Alcoholic Liquor Duties Act 1979, the definition of 'beer' includes ale, porter, stout, black beer and any other description of beer, including liquor sold as a description of beer, and any liquor which is made or sold as a description of beer or as a substitute for beer which is of a strength exceeding 0.5%. This includes mixtures of beer with non-alcoholic liquors, or substances where the final product strength does not exceed 5.5%. It does not include black beer made from worts at a gravity of 1200 degrees or more before fermentation and duty is not chargeable on beer that does not exceed 1.2%.

Duty is charged on beer imported into the United Kingdom or brewed in the United Kingdom. Anyone who produces or holds beer in duty suspension must be registered as a brewer. The only circumstances where exemption from registration is permitted is in the case where beer is brewed for domestic use only, and for the purposes of research or experiments in the production of beer.

Duty is based on the quantity and alcoholic strength of beer, and the rate of duty applicable when it passes the duty point. Beer becomes liable for duty once it has been produced, or when it is imported into the United Kingdom. However until 1 June 1993, duty on beer was computed on the quantity and the original gravity of worts (the still unfermented infusion of malt and other materials), or the quantity of worts of an original gravity of 1055 degrees deemed to have been brewed from the materials used.

The worts were collected in officially gauged vessels and the brewer declared quantity and gravity in a brewing book, on which the duty charge was calculated. The brewers declaration was verified by an officer who used a graduated dip rod at a particular dipping place and determined the gravity of the liquor with the use of the saccharometer. Since June 1993 beer duty has been charged on the end product i.e. on the quantity and alcoholic strength of the beer produced.

Duty on imported beer is now charged either at the time of importation or when it is cleared from a registered premises or an excise warehouse. If duty is paid on importation the total volume actually imported in litres and the alcohol by volume (ABV) expressed as a percentage to 0.1% must be shown on the import document. If the ABV is not known a sample is taken for analysis in advance of the full declaration.

HM Customs and Excise must be advised in writing at the port of importation, of the full name and address of the importer, location of the beer to be sampled and all other details. Imported beer delivered for home consumption is also subject to the same licensing control as the home product. Brewers, like distillers are required to be licensed and pay licence duty according to the amount produced. The brewer must declare the quantity of material they intend to use.

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