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Can we ignore Late Filing Penalty issued in error?

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Received a late-filing penalty notice last week re. SA900 (2017).  Return was submitted 7-4-17 and we have HMRC’s email receipt (plus ditto via Ftax).

Agent helpline doesn’t cover SA900, so rang “normal” HMRC number (auto-voice said “too busy to take calls because it’s snowing”!).  Tried “on-line appeal” but it’s not working (letter says we can appeal on-line for 2015-16 onwards, but web says 2015-16 only !).  We’re reluctant to fill in SA370 Appeal form – it asks for “Other acceptable excuse” which implies we’re in the wrong and will doubtless put a black mark on our record.  If we send a letter, it won’t even be opened before appeal deadline (6-4-18).

Any advice, please? – and what if I ignore the notice completely?  Big thanks in anticipation…!


Replies (6)

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By SteveHa
09th Mar 2018 16:09

I assume that you are relying on the "Return outstanding throughout the period of default", which was generally the date following the fixed filing date (meaning no penalty if filed on 1/2).

I believe that the provision was removed in 2014 (though I could be wrong). Penalties are chargeable in accordance with Sch 55 FA 2009, which doesn't mention the period of default.

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By K81
09th Mar 2018 16:10

keep phoning, don't ignore this.

I assume that you have checked that this is not a duplicate record, I had one trust where HMRC kindly set up the record three times.

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By lionofludesch
09th Mar 2018 16:11

Surely it doesn't matter if your letter is opened. It just has to arrive.

I'd just send them a copy of the emailed receipt, together with a receipted bill for your time, instructing them to repay the client.

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By claudialowe
09th Mar 2018 16:48

And send the letter by recorded delivery, and print off the proof of delivery from Royal Mail website - then they can't say that they never received it!

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By mikebrooks
09th Mar 2018 19:41

Many thanks for all the prompt and helpful replies. Against my better judgement, I just tried phoning. Only 8 minutes to get a human – that’s a record. Having explained it was a Trust return he asked for my NINO...! I suggested the UTR would be more useful. After a short delay he asks me to hold while he xfrs me to the “Trust” team. More ghastly music (I dare anyone to choose it for Desert Island Discs!). 2 minutes later recorded voice says “sorry – we’re closed … goodbye! Click”. This was as 7:15pm – website says open 'til 8pm. You couldn’t make it up…!

I guess the next step is snail-mail – and sadly, I won’t ask a small volunteer-run charity to pay my costs, in the vague hope that HMRC might reimburse them. If I was Her Majesty, I certainly wouldn’t want my name associated with such a pitiful band of wasters.

TGIF – and thanks again to you all.

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By K81
12th Mar 2018 11:14

the trust line is only open 9 -5 & is on a separate phone number - try 0300 1231072.
it's a push one for this push two for that phone number but is the correct one for trusts.

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