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Male singer with microphone and rock and roll band performing hard rock music on stage

Singer blames slow filing on HMRC boogie


A singer/songwriter's ​tax return was filed nearly a year late on the third attempt – and after many phone calls to HMRC officers who were unclear about the penalty position.

23rd Mar 2021
Tax Writer
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Singer/songwriter Brocklesby had an income of £3,500 in 2016/17. He submitted a paper tax return for 2016/17 on 30 October 2018. The due date for filing a paper return was, in fact, 31 October 2017.

HMRC issued the following penalties under Schedule 55 FA 2009:

  • An initial late filing penalty of £100 (subsequently cancelled by HMRC);

  • Daily penalties totalling £900; and

  • A six-month late filing penalty of £300

Brocklesby appealed against the daily and six-month penalties [TC07970] arguing that he had a reasonable excuse.

The FTT agreed, finding several issues with how HMRC handled the case.

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Replies (11)

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By memyself-eye
23rd Mar 2021 12:37

Hey ho, wait until MTD for SA comes in!

How much did it cost HMRC at tribunal - a lot more than £3,500 I bet!

8 days to go.

Thanks (3)
By SteveHa
23rd Mar 2021 12:41

Richard will probably chastise me for this, but I half expected to see his name on this judgement.

Thanks (0)
Replying to SteveHa:
By richard thomas
23rd Mar 2021 15:08

You might have done, but I retired in 2019. I agree wholeheartedly with the FTT.

Thanks (1)
By Southwestbeancounter
23rd Mar 2021 14:03

I liked this bit:
'The FTT dismissed this argument, stating plainly that the system of filing is known as self-assessment, not agent-assessment'!

Thanks (7)
Stuart Walker Yellow Tomato Copy
By winton50
24th Mar 2021 09:50

A very good judgement for sound reasons IMHO.

HMRC shouldn't just assume that everyone has a PC at home or carries a smartphone and should make the self-assessment process as easy as possible.

We all know why they don't!

as memyself-eye says - wait until MTD hits!

Thanks (2)
By Angela Spencer
24th Mar 2021 09:51

"did not have a mobile phone to receive the activation code and had no computer at home"

This is a significant point. Our public sector organisations (including the NHS) now assume that every British citizen now has these devices (and the ability to use them).
Many elderly people as well as some with lower intellectual capacity don't use this technology, and therefore end up having to disclose personal information to family members or friends - sometimes even strangers (such as the local librarian) - so that they can complete tax returns, or even make medical appointments.

Thanks (1)
Replying to Angela Spencer:
By [email protected]
24th Mar 2021 13:34

And some people of all ages and perfectly reasonable mental capacity just don't want to be constantly beholden to a device in their pocket demanding attention 24/7. Or worry that they don't have the self-control to resist the apparently unavoidable addiction to the device. (My own reason)

Thanks (3)
Replying to [email protected]:
By memyself-eye
24th Mar 2021 17:22

I agree - I don't have (won't have) a mobile phone.
7 days to go.

Thanks (0)
By sammerchant
24th Mar 2021 11:25

The judgement of Solomon!

HMRC have been putting more and more onto the agents; work that they would have done in the past.

Thanks (1)
By johnacarpenter
25th Mar 2021 09:35

It is interesting to note that the purchase of a computer or smart phone is not normally allowable as a sole trader expense. The minuscule allowance granted £1.20 per week will not pay even internet access let alone a mobile phone contract

Thanks (0)
Replying to johnacarpenter:
By sammerchant
26th Mar 2021 10:37

Could you please cite the legislation which prohibits the allowance for computer/smart phone for a sole trader as I have not come across this. Thanks.

Thanks (1)