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HMRC internal manual

Compliance Handbook

Agent operational guidance: dishonest tax agents: penalty for dishonest conduct: overview

An individual who has been given a conduct notice will be charged a penalty for dishonest conduct.

The minimum penalty is £5,000 and the maximum is £50,000.

When deciding the amount of penalty for dishonest conduct we must consider

  • whether the tax agent disclosed the dishonest conduct, see CH184120 
  • whether that disclosure was prompted or unprompted, see CH184160 
  • the quality of that disclosure, see CH184240 
  • the quality of the individual’s compliance with any file access notice given to them.

We will assess the minimum penalty of £5,000 when the individual made a disclosure and the quality of that disclosure was as good as was reasonably possible, see CH883600.

We will assess the maximum penalty of £50,000 when the individual does not make a disclosure, see CH883620.

When the individual makes a disclosure, but the quality is not as good as was reasonably possible, we can take other factors into account in deciding the amount of the penalty, see CH883610.

The individual can appeal against the amount of the penalty, but not against the imposition of the penalty.

If we assess the minimum penalty of £5,000 we must consider if there should also be a special reduction that would reduce the penalty to below £5,000, see CH883650.

An individual tax agent is not liable to a penalty for dishonest conduct in respect of anything where they have been personally liable to penalties for inaccuracies, failures to notify or to file on time, see CH883680.

A penalty for dishonest conduct must first be agreed by an authorising officer, see CH883655, and then the charge must be created on SAFE, see CH883820.