Guidance

Soft Drinks Industry Levy penalties

Find out about penalties for registering, submitting returns, and paying the levy late, and how to appeal a penalty.

If you register late

If you register late, HMRC may charge you a penalty, unless you have a reasonable excuse.

If you do not register when you should and you do not have a reasonable excuse, you’ll be committing an offence. If convicted, you could face a prison term of no more than 12 months (6 months in Northern Ireland) and whichever is greater of:

  • a fine not exceeding £20,000
  • 3 times the amount of potential levy lost

If you submit a return late

You must submit your Soft Drinks Industry Levy return and pay the levy within 30 days of the end of the reporting period. The reporting periods are June, September, December and March.

You’ll be charged penalties if you do not.

You’ll be charged a £100 penalty the first time you submit a return late. If you submit a return late, submit 4 returns on time and then submit the next return late, you’ll also be charged a £100 penalty.

If you submit a:

  • second late return within 12 months of the previous late return you’ll be charged a penalty of £200
  • third late return within 12 months of the previous late return you’ll be charged a penalty of £300
  • fourth late return within 12 months of the previous late return you’ll be charged a penalty of £400

If your last late filing penalty was £400, and you submit a late return again within the next 12 months of your most recent late return, you‘ll be charged a £400 penalty.

If you have not submitted a return after 6 months

If you do not submit a return within 6 months of it being due, you’ll be charged a further penalty. The penalty will be the greater of either:

  • 5% of what you owed in that return period
  • £300

You’ll be charged an additional penalty which, will be the greater of either 5% of what you owed in that return period or £300, if you have not submitted the return within 12 months of it being due.

If we think you have deliberately withheld information that would have helped us work out how much you owe, we may increase this penalty to up to 100% of what you owe.

If you pay late

If you do not pay the full amount of the levy due within 30 days of the end of each reporting period you’ll be charged a penalty of 5% of the outstanding amount.

If you have not paid the levy after 5 months from the day it was due, you’ll be charged a penalty of 5% of the outstanding amount.

If the levy due is still outstanding after 11 months from the day it was due, you’ll be charged a further 5% of the outstanding amount.

How to appeal a penalty

You can appeal against a penalty if you do not agree with it.

You may not have to pay some or all of a penalty if we agree you had a reasonable excuse.

Published 2 May 2019
Last updated 24 January 2020 + show all updates
  1. Information about the penalties you may have to pay for registering for the levy late has been added.

  2. First published.