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HM Revenue and Customs Brief 31/13


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Issued 11 October 2013

This Brief replaces Revenue & Customs Brief 30/13 – issued 10 October 2013.

Excise duty: Suspension of certain aggregates levy exemptions, exclusions and reliefs during an investigation by the European Commission

Purpose of this Brief

To give interested parties more details about how the UK Government proposes to suspend certain exemptions, exclusions and reliefs contained within the aggregates levy.

Who needs to read this?

Businesses responsible for commercially exploiting materials in the UK which are exempt, excluded or relieved from the aggregates levy and which are the subject of the European Commission's investigation.


On 1 August 2013 the UK Government received notification that the European Commission had decided to open a formal investigation into certain exemptions, exclusions and tax reliefs from the aggregates levy. The Commission’s letter opening the investigation confirmed that most such reliefs from the levy are not subject to investigation and made it clear that the lawfulness of levy in its entirety is not in question. Businesses commercially exploiting taxable aggregate in the UK therefore have a continuing legal obligation to pay any levy due on their activities.

Revenue and Customs Brief 27/13 made clear that the Government is taking steps to suspend the application of those elements of the levy that now form the subject matter of the formal investigation because it is obliged to do so under Article 108(3) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU).

This Brief updates businesses affected, or potentially affected, with details about the timing and scope of the suspension based on initial discussions with the Commission. Although confirmation of the UK’s proposals from the Commission is awaited, we are releasing this Brief now to enable businesses affected to plan on the basis of the best information available.

Details of the suspension

The Government intends to make the following taxable from 1 April 2014, where the materials are subject to commercial exploitation (as defined in Finance Act 2001). We believe that taxing the materials that are currently being investigated by the Commission, as listed below, is the most appropriate way in which to give effect to the Government’s obligations under Article 108(3) of TFEU:

  • material that consists wholly of the spoil from any process by which coal, lignite, slate or shale has been separated from other rock after being extracted or won with that other rock (section 17(3)(f)(i) Finance Act 2001)
  • material consisting wholly of the spoil, waste or other by-products, resulting from the extraction or other separation from any quantity of aggregate of any china clay or ball clay (section 17(3)(e) Finance Act 2001)
  • material that is wholly the spoil from the separation of any of the industrial minerals listed in section 18(3) of Finance Act 2001 from other rock with which the mineral was extracted or won (section 17(3)(f)(ii), 18(2)(b), 30(1)(b) Finance Act 2001)
  • where extracted for use as aggregates and used as such:
    • material that is wholly or mainly coal, lignite, slate or shale (section 17(4)(a) Finance Act 2001)
    • material that is wholly or mainly clay (section 17(4)(f) Finance Act 2001)
    • other industrial minerals, namely; anhydrite; ball clay; barites; china clay; feldspar; fireclay; fluorspar; fuller's earth; gems and semi-precious stones; gypsum; any metal or the ore of any metal; muscovite; perlite; potash; pumice; rock phosphates; sodium chloride; talc and vermiculite (section 18(3) Finance Act 2001)
  • where used as aggregate:
    • o material that is mainly but not wholly the spoil, waste or other by-product of any industrial combustion process or the smelting or refining of metal (section 17(4)(c)(i) & (ii) Finance Act 2001)


The legislation needed to introduce the suspension will be published in draft and comments invited before the final legislation is laid before Parliament. The primary legislation will be included in Finance Bill 2014 and any secondary legislation required will be laid before Parliament around the same time the Bill is introduced.

Further information about what businesses affected by the suspension will need to do to register and account for tax will be published before the suspension takes effect.

Further advice

No further information about the scope of the materials that will become taxable is available at this time. If, however, you have any other questions about this announcement please phone the Environmental Taxes Unit of Expertise on Telephone 03000 557496.

You can register an interest in sharing your views on the proposed suspensory measures by emailing

HM Treasury will send out follow up questions to any party who registers their interest. Responses to these questions will be required by 15 November 2013.

About the Author

© Crown Copyright 2013.

A licence is needed to reproduce this article and has been republished for educational / informational purposes only. Article reproduced by permission of HM Revenue & Customs.

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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2013-10-16 13:16:26 in Tax Articles

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