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HMRC internal manual

Compliance Handbook

Penalties for inaccuracies: how to process the penalty: suspension of a penalty: circumstances in which you cannot suspend a penalty: penalties you cannot consider for suspension

You must check the date from which these rules apply for the tax or duty you are dealing with. See CH81011 for full details.

Only penalties for careless inaccuracies can be considered for suspension. You must consider suspension for every penalty for a careless inaccuracy but it will not be appropriate to suspend every penalty for a careless inaccuracy. You cannot under any circumstances suspend a penalty for

  • a deliberate inaccuracy
  • an error in a person’s document attributable to another person
  • a failure to take reasonable steps to notify an under-assessment.

The only type of penalty you can consider for suspension is a penalty for a careless inaccuracy and then only if you can set suspension conditions, see CH83131.


At the end of an ITSA compliance check, the overall penalty position is:

Year Behaviour Amount
2007-08 Neglect £10,000
2008-09 Deliberate £20,000
2009-10 Careless £ 5,000
2010-11 Deliberate £25,000
2011-12 An inaccuracy attributable to another person £15,000

The 2007-08 year does not fall within the scope of Schedule 24 FA 2007. Therefore suspension is not available.

For 2008-09 you cannot suspend penalties for deliberate inaccuracies.

For 2009-10 you can consider suspending penalties for careless inaccuracies.

For 2010-11 you cannot consider suspending penalties for deliberate inaccuracies.

For 2011-12 you cannot consider suspension because the inaccuracy was attributable to another person.

This example is to illustrate when you can not consider penalty suspension. CH83134 explains what indicators to consider in deciding whether you should suspend a penalty. The presence of deliberate inaccuracies in other years in this example does not mean that you can’t consider suspension in 2009-10 but it may be an indication that it is not appropriate.