This part of GOV.UK is being rebuilt – find out what beta means

HMRC internal manual

Alcohol Wholesaler Registration Scheme

Penalties and sanctions: trading without approval - level of proof

You must clearly establish that there has been a contravention and whether the contravention was deliberate from the facts.

You must also consider whether the taxpayer has established that there is a reasonable excuse for the contravention.

Although we accept that proceedings for certain penalties are criminal for the purpose of Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights, see the Compliance Handbook CH300000, the civil standard of proof continues to apply to such cases. This standard of proof is the balance of probabilities.

This means that if the contravention is non-deliberate you must have sufficient evidence to show that the contravention occurred and when. If the contravention is deliberate you will also need sufficient evidence to show that the contravention was, on the balance of probabilities, deliberate. The quality of evidence should be higher for the more serious behaviour.