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HMRC internal manual

Compliance Handbook

Penalties for failure to notify: in what circumstances is a penalty payable: when does failure to notify occur

Failure to notify occurs on the day after the final date on which the particular relevant obligation, see CH71300, must be complied with.


Harbin started in business on 15 August 2011. His profit for the period to 5 April 2012 was £18,750. He has no other income and has not been required to make a return.

Harbin must notify us that he is liable to income tax for 2011-12 on or before 5 October 2012. If Harbin tells us tells us that he is liable to tax on any date after 5 October 2012, the failure occurs on 6 October 2012.

A person who fails to notify will not be liable to a penalty for the failure if they have a reasonable excuse, see CH71520, and the failure is remedied without unreasonable delay after the excuse has ended. The reasonable excuse must exist at the date the failure occurs if it is to be relevant to a penalty liability.

For some taxes, there may be several failures over a period of time, see CH71260 and CH71280.

A failure also occurs where we agreed to withdraw a notice to file a self assessment tax return, and the person subsequently finds that they do have an obligation to notify chargeability to tax under section 7 of TMA 1970, and they fail to notify us of that chargeability.