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HMRC internal manual

Compliance Handbook

Dishonest tax agents: file access notice: reasonable excuse: what is not a reasonable excuse

While you must consider all relevant circumstances, there are some situations which we will not normally accept alone as a reasonable excuse.

  • Doing nothing because of a lack of understanding.
  • Pressure of work.
  • Compliance with the file access notice was too onerous, except see CH183040.
  • HMRC did not remind me.

What is or is not a reasonable excuse is personal to the individual’s abilities and circumstances. Those abilities and circumstances may mean that what is a reasonable excuse for one person may not be a reasonable excuse for another.

The law mentions two specific situations that are not reasonable excuses. These are

  • shortage of funds, see CH183620 for more detail and an exception, and
  • reliance on another person, see CH183640 for more detail and an exception.