Reasonable Excuse – HMRC website!

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On starting to read this apparently routine Default Surcharge case, it soon proves itself something more significant, and potentially helpful for the many taxpayers who suffer penalties as a direct result of the HMRC website being useless!

The taxpayer had difficulty logging onto his HMRC online account to submit his VAT Return. He referred to a series of problems which prevented him submitting his Return on time.  Although HMRC did produce a transcript of his WebChat conversation, there was no more explanation as to why he could not login to submit his Return. The Tribunal agreed that the chain of events constituted a reasonable excuse.

Given that many taxpayers experience difficulties using the HMRC website for their VAT and other taxes, this case may prove to be a helpful precedent. 

About Les Howard


Hi, I am a VAT Consultant, working mainly with charities. I am based in Cambridgeshire

I have over 20 years experience in VAT, and am currently also a part-time member of the Tax Tribunals.


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29th Mar 2019 09:17

Thank you Les. A 'must-read' for everyone who will be faced with the much anticipated MTD4V car crash on, or soon after, Monday.

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01st Apr 2019 10:48

This is similar to the reasonable excuse re HMRC VAT phone problems in McNamara Joinery Ltd v HMRC [2016] UKFTT 0529 (TC). See:

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