Accountant
Paul Soper
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Is this right?

I read this today on the HMRC website and wondered if I had missed something.  You now appently have to appeal against a penalty before you have been notified that it has been imposed....

"Important update

If you missed the 31 January 2012 deadline for sending your tax return online, you will have to pay a penalty. You can appeal against the penalty to HMRC. You have until 31 March 2012 to appeal (my emphasis). Follow the link below to find out more about penalties and how to appeal."

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Another concern

They are quoting 31 January 2012 deadline. Have they forgotten that the deadline was extended by two days because of the civil service strike? Does this mean we also have to lodge appeals for the clients submitted on the 1 and 2 February, even though they should be automatically exempt from penalties due to the filing extension.

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FA 2009 Sch 55 para 18(3) says

(3)     An assessment of a penalty under any paragraph of this Schedule—

(a)     is to be treated for procedural purposes in the same way as an assessment to tax (except in respect of a matter expressly provided for by this Schedule),

(b)     may be enforced as if it were an assessment to tax, and

(c)     may be combined with an assessment to tax.

 

So presumably it depends when they assess the penalty

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I heard that You can appeal only if you have cause to argue that you should not have been issued with a return. For example if you only had employment income.

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I assume...

... that they intend to issue all the penalties on 1 March.

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penalties

Historically penalties for late submission of self-assessment returns have been issued on Valentines day - all penalties should be issued by end of February, you then have 30 days to appeal.

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Deadline is fixed

The deadline of 31st January 2012 is fixed. It is, was and always shalt be (unless new legislation comes in) be 31st January.

The relaxation this year was that for returns received on 1st or 2nd February they would be treated as received on 31st January. In essence, HMRC are writing history slightly different to reality but to the benefit of your client (who waited too long to pass on the info and has now gotten away with it).

It is highly unlikely that any LFP raised on such returns could be upheld considering the public announcement of the policy above, so any that do will be errors on the rework of history by the HMRC typing monkeys.

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