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HMRC internal manual

Customs Civil Penalties Guidance

HM Revenue & Customs
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CITEX officers operational process: penalty notice: considering mitigation: Step 1 considering individual mitigating factors


Step 1 of considering the amount of mitigation due, see CCPG30420, is for you to consider the individual mitigating factors in a case. The table below sets out ranges of mitigation for typical individual mitigating factors. If there are multiple mitigating factors, mitigation must never exceed 100%.

Mitigation Factor Range (the amount by which we reduce the penalty)
Good compliance history  
As this factor would have been taken into account before the issue of the warning letter, discretion for mitigation on these grounds is somewhat limited. However, you should consider the number of declaration errors in the context of the total number of declarations made. 10% - 20%
  Unforeseen and relevant events

These are events which do not provide a reasonable excuse but which are supported by evidence. For example,

computer or software errors

flood, fire or other damage to premises

theft or break in

non-receipt of income caused, for example, by customers’ financial difficulties

pressure of work (for example, exceptional and significant increase in workloads not in keeping with normal work fluctuations)

staff problems (for example, where the person responsible for providing the relevant documentation to HMRC leaves at short notice)

clerical errors, particularly in complex circumstances where management controls are in place but have failed to spot the error.  
10% - 50%  
  Help given to the officer(s) investigating the contravention
This might include help in identifying the scale of the problem, timely preparation of schedule or arrears etc.  
10% - 50%  
  Complexity of transaction
In relation to the size and experience of the business and frequency of those transactions.  
10% - 50%  
  Remedial action to prevent future similar contraventions
This might include systems or management improvements.  
10% - 50%

Once you have considered the individual mitigating factors you should go on to Step 2, see CCPG30440, to consider the case as a whole.