Information & Inspection Powers: penalties: when is a penalty chargeable: reasonable excuse: what is a reasonable excuse - examples
This page gives some examples of what might constitute a reasonable excuse for failing to comply with an information notice.
Please remember that these are hypothetical examples and are only intended to give you an idea of the factors you might need to consider. They are not model answers to a particular situation or the ‘correct’ way to deal with similar cases. Real cases will have many other factors to take into account and you need to consider each in the light of all the relevant facts. An excuse will not necessarily be accepted as reasonable just because it seems to fit into one of these categories. It depends on the individual circumstances of each case.
The person can appeal and is entitled to a review if we do not accept their excuse, see CH26900. See CH26460 for guidance about when a reasonable excuse ends.
We will normally treat the death of a close relative or domestic partner around the time when the person should have complied with the information notice as a reasonable excuse.
We will normally treat the serious illness of the person or of a close relative or domestic partner around the time when the person should have complied with the information notice as a reasonable excuse.
Some examples of what could be a reasonable excuse are
- a loss of records through fire, flood or theft
- a computer breakdown
- a loss of key personnel
- an unexpected cash crisis, see CH26420
- unavoidable delays beyond the person’s control, see CH26440.
We will normally accept that there is a reasonable excuse if the information or documents are lost or delayed in the post because of an unforeseen event disrupting the postal service. For example
- Fire or flood at the sorting office where the information/document would be held, or
- Industrial action trapping the information/document in the post.