New rules on declaring cash when entering or leaving the UK

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HMRC has announced that from 15 June 2007, if you are travelling to or from a country outside the European Union (EU), you will need to declare any sums of cash of 10,000 Euro or more (or the equivalent in another currency) to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).

The relevant forms to make the disclosure are available at airports and ports, but the term cash covers:


  • currency notes and coins



  • bankers drafts



  • cheques of any kind, including travellers cheques.


Officers will only seize cash if they have reasonable grounds to suspect it is the proceeds of, or is intended for use in, unlawful conduct.

Seized cash cannot be kept for more than 48 hours without a court order (not including public holidays and weekends).

A court may order seized cash to be:


  • detained while investiga...


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25th Apr 2007 21:11

Cash seizure

For completeness, it should be noted that police and customs officers do have power under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 to seize 'cash' within the UK as well as at ports and airports.

The officer must have reasonable grounds to suspect that the 'cash' is either 'recoverable property' (which means, broadly speaking, that it is, or represents, proceeds of crime) or that the 'cash' is intended to be used for a criminal purpose.

As mentioned in the above article, 'cash' for this purpose includes cheques.

'Cash' amounts of less than £1,000 will not be seized. There is no upper limit.

The person from whom the 'cash' is seized can apply to the court for its return. The court will order the return of the 'cash' (with interest) if it is not satisfied, on the balance of probability, that it is either 'recoverable property' or intended to be used for a criminal purpose. On the other hand, if the law enforcement agency is able to satisfy the court that, on the balance of probabilities, its suspicions are well founded the 'cash' is forfeit to the Crown.

This enables police and customs to damage and disrupt suspected criminal activities without needing to mount a prosecution or prove criminality beyond reasonable doubt. From their point of view it is a swift and cheap way to get a 'result'.

'Cash' can be held for up to 2 years while investigations are carried out, before being either returned or forfeit.


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01st May 2007 09:57

Exchange Control
Do I smell Exchange Control back on the agenda under the guise of MLRegs?

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30th Apr 2007 23:03

gold plating by HMRC
I live in the Isle of Man and travel several times a year to the mainland. I note that if I inadvertently have in my wallet a cheque from for example my stockbroker which I have not yet cashed then if I do not declare it at the port of entry I could be prosecuted. This is daft..
HMRC specify that the new regulations apply to cheques of any kind, whoever the payee is. Yet the EU directive that originated this new regulation specifies that in respect of cheques it only applies to bearer cheques or cheques made out to a fictitious payee.
Another case of needless gold plating which will lead to more form filling and pointless penalties.

They will prohibit us from posting cheques from the Isle of Man to the UK next I expect, or from carrying blank chequebooks to stop us writing prohibited cheques once we're through customs!
Peter Verstage
Douglas, Isle of Man

PS for those interested, the actual EU regulation is to be found at

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By Anonymous
10th May 2007 15:13

About time
So, if a criminal does not declare the money, and it is picked up by the X-Ray machines, he will lose it. And he will face an investigation.
Why is that not good?

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By Anonymous
14th May 2007 12:02

Moving the Money
Your objection is that people are likely to break the law, so the law should not exist?
It is true that a terrorist is unlikely to declare the money he is bringing in to fund terrorist activities, but if he still brings it in and does not declare it and gets caught, that's a good lead for the anti-terrorist squad.
If he does not bring it in he has to find other ways - putting it in the post etc. But the post from overseas is also checked.
Surely it is better to try and make terrorism harder than just to allow it to continue?

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