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Reliance on accountant was a reasonable excuse

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Mr and Mrs Stokes appealed against late filing penalties on the basis they had relied on their accountant, but the tribunal also found that special circumstances applied.

3rd Dec 2020
Tax Writer
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The Stokes lived in South Africa, and had been filing self-assessment tax returns for several years to report their rental income from their UK property.

Their 2017/18 self-assessment tax returns should have been submitted to HMRC electronically by 31 January 2019, but they were not submitted until 18 August 2019.

HMRC charged each taxpayer the following late filing penalties under FA 2009 Schedule 55:

  • an initial late filing penalty of £100 (para 3) – this penalty was not under appeal
  • daily penalties of £900 (para 4)
  • a six-month late filing penalty of £300 (para 5).

The Stokes appealed against the daily and six-month penalties, with their appeals heard together by the first tier tribunal [TC07836].

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Replies (5)

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By New To Accountancy
04th Dec 2020 10:24

Note to self, do not start sending reminders to clients in case I am blamed. Less help, less responsibility.

Thanks (2)
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By supremetwo
04th Dec 2020 14:59

"daily penalties of £900 (para 4)"??

Para 4 is £10 per day for 90 days and not a daily penalty of £900.

Thanks (1)
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By KIKISROSSIDES
05th Dec 2020 06:28

All due respect I personally see no reasonable excuse in this case. They had between April 2018 and January 2019 to deal with their tax affairs. They failed to do so. Not only this but they send their tax details two months late. So once again where is the reasonable excuse?

Thanks (1)
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By Mr J Andrews
05th Dec 2020 14:09

The Stokes knew the drill - after several years of filing . They were happy to pay the minimum penalty for their tardiness - but not the knock on delay effectively caused by their tardiness. No reasonable excuse in my book. The FTT went soft on this one.

Thanks (1)
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By css
08th Nov 2021 07:15

I'm a little less worried , reading this by search (already had registered). My situation is similar, in that it was my previous ( I only recently learnt NOT current) accountant's responsibility. 2 weeks prior to mu Jan deadline, i wrote a long, over-due, letter of complaint. The accountant, sent in a junior, who, to cut a long story short, lost our entire system-and which was configured as our managment working base. 2 years, neglecting growth, its taken me to rebuild. I received a disengagement letter by 'post' non tracked 2 weeks after this deadline. so THEY should have filed it. My new accountant did but fine stood at £900!as he couldnt attain our information from the for 3 months after! BUT i cant get through to the HMRC number as i dont think form filling cuts it and NEED to speak to someone-is there no leeway when you basically are unable to contact them in this crisi?

Thanks (0)