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HMRC internal manual

Compliance Handbook

Agent operational guidance: dishonest tax agents: penalty for dishonest conduct: when to assess a £5,000 penalty

You can assess a dishonest conduct penalty of £5,000 where the individual has

  • made an unprompted disclosure of dishonest conduct
  • been as complete as is reasonably possible in telling you about the dishonest conduct
  • been as active as is reasonably possible in helping you identify the extent of the dishonest conduct
  • responded as reasonably promptly and accurately as is possible to giving you access to information and documents
  • complied fully and timeously with any file access notices issued to them.

You must take account of all of these factors together. There are no penalty ranges as there are for penalties charged under, for example, Schedule 24 FA 2007.

You must assess a £5,000 penalty where the individual has made a prompted disclosure, but where the quality of disclosure and compliance with any file access notice given to them has been full in every other respect, and you can recover quickly all the tax lost.

If, when you challenge the individual, they decide not to answer your questions and remain silent until after the tribunal has upheld the conduct notice you should not penalise them for delaying telling you about the dishonesty, see CH184300.

An individual’s request for you to issue a file access notice, where they have a good reason to proceed formally, will not affect the quality of disclosure for giving access. For example, where

  • their professional indemnity insurance requires a notice to be issued, or
  • complying voluntarily with your request for documents breaches client confidentiality.

An individual’s refusal to give you documents that they believe are privileged, or covered by any of the other exclusions at CH182700, will not affect the quality of disclosure.

Before you assess a £5,000 penalty, see CH883650 about special reduction.

You must have the penalty agreed by an authorising officer, see CH883655.

See CH883660 for guidance about making the penalty assessment.