My client has recently received a notice of a £400 penalty for non-submission of his 2009/10 PAYE return. It is believed that an attempt was made to submit this online before the due date (19 May) but it seems that this failed. This is only part of the issue and on the assumption that the return has not been received by HMRC is it being re-submitted immediately.
The fine is stated to be £100 for each month or part month the return is late. Even if the return did not get sent in on time, is it totally fair that HMRC should wait 4 months before notifying my client of his error? I seem to recall that many other penalty notices/reminders are issued regularly. Why could my client have not received the penalty notice after one month, thereby saving himself £300 and enabling him to correct the error immediately?
Is the delay in notfying a penalty situation yet another money-making exercise by HMRC? Any views on the legal/moral position of HMRC?