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HMRC internal manual

Claimant Compliance Manual

HM Revenue & Customs
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Examinations: Examinations following a change of circumstances: Is a penalty appropriate?

Where an incorrect notification following a change of circumstances or statement has been made fraudulently or negligently HMRC can charge a penalty in addition to recovering any over-claim. The maximum penalty is £3,000 per incorrect claim or statement.

There are different opening letters for cases with and without penalties so you need to decide whether a penalty might be appropriate. When the case was entered on TCW an entry should have been made for the tax credit at risk. This is the amount that might be overpaid if we do not review the award.

When an examination is worked before actioning the change of circumstances the customer will not have received any payments for that notification. However, it is still HMRC’s policy to charge penalties to deter customers from ‘trying it on’.

When deciding if a penalty might be appropriate you should consider the following:-

Step 1

Is the amount of the tax credit at risk £2,000 or more?

* if it is , there might be a penalty, go to [CCM4760]( 
* if it is not, then go to step 2.

Step 2

Is the risk one of the following?

* a fictitious child

* if yes there might be a penalty - go to [CCM4760]( 
* if it is not, then go to step 3

Step 3

Has there been a previous claim within the last 2 years that was adjusted following compliance action.

* If yes, there might be a penalty - go to [CCM4760]( 
* If no, there is no penalty - go to[CCM4365](