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Missed 30 Day Appeal Deadline by Two Hours?

CT penalty appeal letter "delivered" at 1.40am on day 31

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CT late filing penalty £200 issued (erroneously) by HMRC, dated 17th December 2021.

Appeal letter posted Thurs morning 13th January to CT Central Services, 1st class signed for delivery. 30 day window expired at end of Sunday 16th January, presumably at midnight. Per Royal Mail's track and trace, "delivery" signature was at 1.40am Monday 17th January viz:

"Your item was collected from Wolverhampton DO at 17-01-2022

Signed for by: EDM/DRIVER

Service used: Royal mail signed for

Delivered at: 01.40, Monday 17th January 2022"

My question is, just how strictly are HMRC likely to enforce the 30 day cut-off under such circumstances? Might the appeal letter make the weekend cut?

    

Replies (24)

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By David Ex
23rd Jan 2022 12:04

How can the letter have been delivered at 1.40 in the morning?!

This is an ancient link but might give some clues.

https://www.accountingweb.co.uk/any-answers/posting-a-return-deemed-date...

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Replying to David Ex:
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By I'msorryIhaven'taclue
23rd Jan 2022 12:59

Thanks David,

Per your link that (2006) presumption was 2 working days (and excluded Sat & Sun) which unfortunately takes me to Monday morning. Ouch!

I don't know how or why 1.40am, but it looks like it was signed by an EDM delivery driver at 1.40am (either when collecting the letter from his Wolverhampton depot, or when actually delivering to HMRC). The signature just says "tax".

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By Truthsayer
23rd Jan 2022 12:09

You have spiked your own gun by using Signed For. You thus have proof that it arrived after the deadline, so I can see no grounds for appeal. If you had sent it by ordinary post, there would be no proof that it arrived after midnight. If HMRC had found it in the post waiting for them on the morning of the 17th, they might have treated it as received immediately after their office closed on the previous working day, presumably Friday the 14th.

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Replying to Truthsayer:
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By I'msorryIhaven'taclue
23rd Jan 2022 13:09

Thanks Truthsayer,

Shot myself in the foot alright!

I guess my only hope is that the signature "tax" timed at 1.40am on Monday 17th was made by the driver, not the Revenue's night watchman. Either way I won't be showing that tracking slip to HMRC. I guess I'll have to hope that the post opened on a Monday morning gets stamped with the previous working day (or even the previous day's) date.

There were extended time concessions until late last year, but they seem to have disappeared.

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By Geoff56
23rd Jan 2022 13:40

I may be missing something but if the penalty was issued "erroneously" and this is a fact, does it really need an in-time appeal to have it withdrawn? Or is the erroneous bit open to question?

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Replying to Geoff56:
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By I'msorryIhaven'taclue
23rd Jan 2022 14:04

Ahha, good question Geoff. The erroneous issue looks a solid argument.

Long story, but Newco submitted one long set of accounts 12 and a half months' duration, but two CT600s (one for 12 months and the second for half a month; each submitted within their 12 months deadlines). Under which circumstance HMRC should not have issued any late filing penalty (but did - I concluded they're having trouble distinguishing within the legislation the difference between an Accounting Period and a Period of Account).

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Replying to I'msorryIhaven'taclue:
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By rmillaree
23rd Jan 2022 14:30

I have never known hmrc get balshy ref their mess ups or where perios simply need realingning and there would be no panlty with orrect dates on the system- so you should not have a problem here.
Generally ref your issue i just pick up phone tell them they are numpties and they normally sort there and then or pass referral over and advise when it will be sorted - they know their systems dont work for the case you highlight.

cant imagine that there will be any problem if you simply wait for them to respond (hmmmmm what do others think here ???) - if you are worried they may have cause though to get pedantic and not do the right thinbg perhaps ring up and see if thay can sort on phone there are then.

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Replying to rmillaree:
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By I'msorryIhaven'taclue
23rd Jan 2022 14:59

Thanks rmillaree, that's reassuring.

There should indeed be no penalties based on CT600s and Accounts filed in November. However, it appears the penalty notices were triggered as you've described by those submissions, and were issued in the Christmas post.

I wish I could phone HMRC, but unfortunately we're still awaiting agent authorisation for Newco. That's taking an age. Consequently the appeal had to be penned from and authorised by the director, which is how we ended up eating so deeply into the 30 days. Plus it means they're effectively corresponding with the client over this matter. I really must submit another agent request tomorrow!

I'm grateful for your insight - let's hope the Revenue have a little wriggle room.

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Replying to I'msorryIhaven'taclue:
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By richard thomas
24th Jan 2022 06:35

Relax, as I have been doing 7 degrees north for the last two weeks.

If HMRC were silly enough to say that the appeal was late, they are required to allow the appeal to be given to them if you have a reasonable excuse - s49 TMA. If they unaccountably don’t accept that your conduct was reasonable , then the Tribunal, on appeal, will almost certainly allow the appeal to be given using the Martland principles , and HMRC know that.

My experience was that they don’t take late appeal points where the delay is less than 3 months. 2 hours is neither serious nor significant on Martland principles.

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Replying to richard thomas:
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By I'msorryIhaven'taclue
24th Jan 2022 11:54

Thanks Richard, much appreciated.

I guess Covid / lockdown, and its affect on snail mail, might just provide a blanket s49 reasonable excuse. (I'm assuming the bods who open and distribute hardcopy mail won't be attuned with your thinking in the same way that someone manning a CT line phone might.) In any event I'm grateful for your take on this: I've always been in plenty of time or very very late with appeals, so only just missing the boat is new to me.

7 Degrees north sounds good. Thank you for taking time away from your pina colada.

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Replying to I'msorryIhaven'taclue:
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By richard thomas
24th Jan 2022 12:07

Good guess but wrong. I'm in Sri Lanka, where it's good old G&T with Sri Lankan gin.

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Replying to richard thomas:
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By I'msorryIhaven'taclue
24th Jan 2022 13:01

Good idea, that should stave off malaria.

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Replying to I'msorryIhaven'taclue:
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By Matrix
24th Jan 2022 06:58

If you don’t have access to the online account then you can’t see the returns being captured or the accounting periods in the system. Were the penalties for the exact periods submitted and the periods which HMRC were expecting?

You are going to spend more time than this £200 you are saving. Just wait until you have access, check online and then get resolved over the phone.

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Replying to Matrix:
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By I'msorryIhaven'taclue
24th Jan 2022 12:21

Hi Matrix,

Well the penalties for Newco were auto-generated under FA1998:

s14(1) The filing date for a company tax return is the last day of whichever of the following periods is the last to end:
(a) twelve months from the end of the period for which the return is made;
(b) if the company’s relevant period of account is not longer than 18 months, twelve months from the end of that period;
(c) if the company’s relevant period of account is longer than 18 months, 30 months from the beginning of that period;
(d) three months from the date on which the notice requiring the return was served.

It seems the original notice to file a return was issued in January 2020. The Revenue's AI has erroneously selected (d) above [ie April 2020] as the period last to end.
The latest date should be (b) as the company's period of account is 12 and a half months ended November 2020, for which 2 x CT600s were filed in November 2021. The £200 penalty relates to the first of those CT600s.

So yes, HMRC's AP's (& Period s of Account) will no doubt have differed. Normally I avert this sort of thing by changing dates at Companies House, say by shortening to 11 and a bit months' accounts duration. But this was a Lastminute.dot.com appointment. That'll teach me not to take on rush work!

Thanks for the heads up on resolving over the phone - you've just jogged me into making another agent request, which was supposed to be top of my list this morning!

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Replying to I'msorryIhaven'taclue:
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By Mr_awol
24th Jan 2022 11:59

To reassure you further, i have 'appealed' late CT600 penalties for dorman accounts months after the event. As long as i have sent proof (dormant accs as filed at CoHo) they have just cleared the penalties.

I wouldnt expect much of a problem TBH

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Replying to Mr_awol:
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By I'msorryIhaven'taclue
24th Jan 2022 12:40

Good to know Mr A,

In fact this company traded pretty much from Day 1, so it's one set of "12 and a half months" duration accounts and two CT600s (the first for half a month, the second for 12 months).

But I do happen to have the situation you've described going on with dormant accounts for a separate Newco, for which I'm anticipating penalties. I can't make my mind up whether or not to register as agent for dormant Newco, so that I'll be able to appeal any such notice over the phone rather than pen a director's letter. Or would that be spiking my own gun again!

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Replying to I'msorryIhaven'taclue:
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By Mr_awol
24th Jan 2022 14:31

TBH im sure i used to get them cancelled over the phone but last few times they've insisted i send in the dormant accs. Obviously it would be easier if they just looked on CoHo but hey, they're cancelling penalties way after appeal deadlines so im not about to push them.

Main point is, they arent sticking to the 30 days like they probably would if it was a 'reasonable excuse' appeal. So in your (current) case where the penalty isnt due under the law (as return filed before CoHo deadline) i reckon you'll be fine.

In fact, i suspect youd be fine even if youd done a sneaky 6 month extension, if you kept proof of the CoHo filing deadline, but wouldnt want to try it, obviously.

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A Putey FACA
By Arthur Putey
24th Jan 2022 11:46

I wonder how far behind HMRC are in responding to appeals. According to an email I received last week, Companies House have a backlog to July last year!

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Replying to Arthur Putey:
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By I'msorryIhaven'taclue
24th Jan 2022 12:50

Eeeek! I suppose that's what comes of their issuing penalties willy-nilly.

I've a client who's been waiting since accounts were submitted in October 2020 for a substantial s455 refund. The Revenue keep saying its being processed; I tell them to set-off the s455 against the corporation tax payable for the (self-same) year. Meanwhile the Collectors have farmed the CT liability out to a very proactive debt collection agency who seem to need telling regularly that the s455 refund is sufficient to cover the CT liability they are chasing.

It's high time HMRC were policed and made to pay compensation. Like the phone or utility companies are held accountable.

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Replying to Arthur Putey:
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By Mr_awol
24th Jan 2022 14:33

Arthur Putey wrote:

I wonder how far behind HMRC are in responding to appeals. According to an email I received last week, Companies House have a backlog to July last year!

Thursday 20/1/22 i got an email from CoHse as id been sent a reminder for a penalty which is under appeal - i queried whether it was actually on hold as their system says it will be placed. I got the reply below:

Companies House wrote:

Companies House late filing penalty reminder letters are automatically generated and issued.

Due to the current time taken in processing the appeals you may receive a reminder letter regarding your penalty.

Currently we are replying to appeals received on 17/06/2021.

I can confirm that the late filing penalty will be placed on hold until the outcome of your appeal has been completed.

Apologies for any inconvenience.

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By JoannaU
25th Jan 2022 11:59

I have just resolved an issue with the a February year end - the 29 February 2020 was missed so penalties issued for a return for that day. After several phone calls, as the 3rd one didn't make sense following the earlier two, ended up with a lady who just treated the one day as dormant and refiled the 2021 return. I have just received the letter showing the penalties now nil. It is definitely worth a phone call to explain the situation and, if you get someone who understands the system, unlike my 3rd person, they may (I would put this in bold if possible!) be able to sort it out for you.

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Replying to JoannaU:
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By rmillaree
25th Jan 2022 12:13

I would concur with Joanna - you may get the dodgy advisor but ignoring them (ring back and try again) they will generally now amend most periods to what you want without quibbling to much and cancel any penalties for non l.ive periods. The only bee in their bonnet is that if there is non trading period (no ct600 needed) and the dormant acounts are not filed at companies house they will normally insist dormant accounts are filed first before doing anything (eg cancelling earlier periods that should not exist) - thatsa fair middle ground as it helps combat fraudsters who will be happy to lie to hmrc.
Note hmrc do sometimes lose the plot ref dormant periods - so if you have 6 months period of trading in year (used for companies house) you may have to explain chapter and verse dates wise as to why the next filing at companies house will not be dormant - ie there is some overlap i dates. As long as there is some overlap in dates their "need to file dormant accounts" stance is nul and void.

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By More unearned luck
25th Jan 2022 13:28

What makes you think that the date on an HMRC document shows the true date of issue? HMRC freely admit it doesn't.

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Replying to More unearned luck:
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By I'msorryIhaven'taclue
25th Jan 2022 13:56

Well yes, document dated 17th December and client says it arrived last day or two of December. I suppose it wasn't been posted until after Boxing Day - maybe HMRC didn't want to spoil anyone's Christmas ;-)

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