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Penalties v surcharges

Penalties v surcharges

Is there any real implication in the change of name from "surcharge" to "penalty" in relation to self assessment balancing payments paid more than 28 days late, or is it just a political puff designed to encourage earlier payment on the perhaps spurious grounds that "penalties" are less desirable (or carry more stigma) or easier to understand than "surcharges" even if the amount is precisely the same?

There are three possibilities that was wondering about:

1) CIS compliance history. If you want an exemption certificate you need to demonstrate a history of compliance, which could be compromised if you have received a penalty. I am a bit out of touch with CIS schemes, but my vague recollection is that late payment of tax is a compliance failure anyway, so perhaps this change makes no difference here.

2) Fee protection insurance. Terms of cover may require that no "penalty" has been charged, whereas the imposition of a "surcharge" may not be relevant. It may vary between providers, but I think that our provider would take no notice of a late payment "penalty" in risk assessment or coverage issues.

3) Appeals procedure. Again, I have not looked up chapter and verse, but I recall that there was a facility to appeal a surcharge notice on "reasonable grounds". Perhaps this is still possible, but I see that no mention of right of appeal is included in the new style penalty notices.

Perhaps there are other issues?

With kind regards

Clint Westwood


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