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HMRC internal manual

Enquiry Manual

Penalties: Failure to Comply with SA Information Notices: Penalty Determinations - Responsibility of Authorising Signatory

This guidance only applies to information notices issued on or before 31 March 2009.

After 31 March 2009 you cannot issue notices under TMA70/S20, TMA70/S19A, FA98/SCH18/PARA27 or TMA70/SCH1A/PARA6. You must instead use the information powers in FA08/SCH36, see CH20000+

TMA70 / S100


FA98 / SCH18 / PARA 29

Penalties may only be imposed on the authority of the ‘authorised officer’ EM5320+.

The purpose of an authorisation check is to ensure

  • Correct governance of our actions,
  • Legality of our actions,
  • A safeguard to our customers to ensure consistency and correct application of HMRC guidance when applying the legislation

The signatory of an authorisation level must be

  • Independent of the enquiry to ensure they can apply a “fresh set of eyes”
  • Capable of understanding and taking responsibility for the document they are signing
  • Able to satisfy themselves that the proposed penalty is correct in law and reasonable with regard to all the facts and circumstances of the case
  • Sure that the imposition of daily penalties (EM4706) does not get out of proportion

The signatory should be familiar with the guidance in this section and particularly EM4703 and EM4706/4707.

The authorisation levels referred to at EM4703 and EM4706/4707 are the minimum levels of authorisation within Local Compliance and Large Business Service. Staff in other Directorates should continue to use the appropriate levels for their business Directorate until advised.

Local Compliance managers and authorising officers from a different tax regime background than ITSA or CTSA should ensure they seek appropriate technical support to ensure they are able to give full and appropriate consideration to the documents they are authorising.

Business Unit Heads should ensure a collaborative approach is taken across work areas to provide managers and authorising officers with any necessary technical support.