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HMRC internal manual

Compliance Handbook

HM Revenue & Customs
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Penalties for Inaccuracies: How to Process the Penalty: Suspension of a penalty: Notice to suspend a penalty: Need to assess the penalty

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

Formal assessments

In cases where formal assessments are made, strictly a penalty must be assessed before it can be suspended. In practice we will issue the penalty assessment (NPPS2) and the notice of suspension (NPPS3) at the same time in most suspension cases.

You must discuss the level of the penalty with the person, see CH451510.

You must not agree to suspend a penalty

  • as part of your discussion about the level of penalty, or
  • to avoid an appeal against the penalty.

You must consider your decision to suspend a penalty as a separate matter from your decision about the penalty or its amount. Your decision as to whether to suspend a penalty must be based on the facts of the case.

Contract settlements

In cases where a contract settlement stands in place of a formal assessment, see

  • EM6306 for guidance on what amount to include in the offer, and
  • CH83184 for guidance on telling the person about suspension within the contract settlement.