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HMRC internal manual

Compliance Handbook

Charging Penalties: establishing penalty behaviour: examples of questions to establish behaviour: failure to file on time

You should prepare the questions you are going to ask separately for each case and consider what information or documents you may need as proof that the person is telling the truth. Some of the following questions may help you plan what questions to ask.

  • What is the tax liability for the return period?
  • Why didn’t you complete and file the return on time?
  • Why didn’t you file this return when you have filed other returns, before and since, without apparent problems?
  • Did you know that you should have put this information on your return and paid tax?
  • What made you think you didn’t have to pay tax on this?
  • Why didn’t you contact HMRC to help you determine your tax liability?
  • Did you ask an accountant or anyone else for advice?
  • What advice did you receive?
  • Why didn’t you follow the advice you were given?
  • The advice was wrong - why didn’t you check the tax position with HMRC or someone else knowledgeable on the subject?
  • Why didn’t you tell HMRC that the determination made was much less than the tax that you should have declared on your return?
  • Did you deliberately withhold this information so that you didn’t have to pay the tax?

For a case scenario involving withholding information see CH402254.