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HMRC responds to penalty notice data breach

HMRC has blamed a software issue for thousands of late-filing penalty notices being sent to the wrong agents in last month's data breach error.

29th Apr 2021
Community Assistant AccountingWEB
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HMRC letter

Last month, thousands of agents and AccountingWEB members reported the data breach error and were left unsure of what to do with the penalties they mistakenly received. 

HMRC has confirmed to ICAEW that 18,496 penalty notices were sent incorrectly, affecting 15,459 agents. There were also two taxpayers who received agent copies meant for different taxpayers.

The late penalty notices seemed to be delivered in the same envelope as a notice correctly received.

HMRC’s response

HMRC was made aware of the issue on 23 March, after countless accountants reported the same problem.

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Replies (7)

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By SteveHa
30th Apr 2021 08:16

When I asked why I had received them, I was told she didn't know and couldn't comment. No other suggestions offered nor any apologies offered.

Likely HMRC had discovered their [***] up and instructed front line staff not to comment. Very Borisesque.

Thanks (1)
By Ken Moorhouse
30th Apr 2021 10:15

"the envelope stuffer"
Brings a whole new meaning to the word TAXidermist.

Thanks (0)
By tedbuck
30th Apr 2021 10:35

Surely the last sentence should read :-

Hopefully the HMRC statement signals the beginning of the end of its first 2021 data breach ordeal.

Thanks (1)
By Paul Crowley
30th Apr 2021 11:42

HMRC not really explaining what went wrong, just not properly tested
Will we get the same feeble explanation for the failure to capture tax returns with SEISS showing?
Just look at how many threads are popping up on that subject

Anyone able to get a sensible answer from HMRC yet?

Thanks (2)
By Nebs
30th Apr 2021 11:46

A £100 penalty for HMRC for each incorrect notice, payable to the affected party, would be a small start.

Thanks (0)
By Paul Crowley
02nd May 2021 18:01


HMRC recon about 43,000 Agents
Why can they not count the number of agents with portals?
18K 'errors' affecting 15K agents. About 1 per affected agent
My experience:
5 delivered to me wrongly and 12 delivered to others, not me
17 errors on one tiny little firm
ONLY one correctly delivered to me
I really had 17 times the national average?
Indeed percentage error for me 131% 17 errors out of 13
Everything should be doubled
1 misposted is 2 errors
( company has been at same address over 60 years )

Thanks (0)