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HMRC internal manual

Compliance Handbook

Dishonest tax agents: how to process a penalty: what the assessment must include

We will issue a penalty assessment when a person has become liable to

  • a penalty for failing to comply with a file access notice, see CH183300+, or
  • a penalty for dishonest conduct, see CH184040+.

There may be situations where a person is charged both a penalty for failing to comply with a file access notice and a penalty for dishonest conduct.

We can only issue an assessment for a penalty for dishonest conduct where we have already issued a conduct notice, see CH182100+, and any appeal rights against the notice, see CH182160, have expired or been exhausted.

A penalty assessment notice must include

  • the date of the assessment
  • what led to the penalty (for example, failure to comply with the file access notice dated DD/MM/YYYY)
  • the legislation under which the penalty is due
  • the amount of the penalty
  • when and how they must pay it, and
  • if appropriate, the period the penalty relates to.

A notice of assessment of daily penalties must also show

  • the period to which the assessment relates (date to date inclusive)
  • the number of days included
  • the daily amount of the penalty, and
  • the total amount of the penalties.

The notice must also explain the recipient’s right to appeal and review and the appeal and review process.

The notice must explain that the penalty must be paid within 30 days of the later of

  • the date on which the notice was issued if an appeal is not made, and
  • the date on which any appeal is determined or withdrawn.

See CH185060 for guidance on the time limits for assessing a penalty.