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HMRC internal manual

Enquiry Manual

Penalties: Information Returns: Failure to Provide Information etc - Legislation


Where a taxpayer

  • fails to comply with a notice under any of the provisions listed in the first column of the Table, or
  • fails to comply with any of the requirements of the list in the second column of the Table, or
  • fraudulently or negligently EM5100+ makes a false return, supplies false information etc under either column of the Table,

they may be liable to a penalty.

The ‘extra time’ EM5151 and ‘reasonable excuse’ EM5152+ defences apply to the failure offences.

The penalties for failing to comply with the requirements of Section 98 are

  • a sum not exceeding £300 for each failure (which is imposed by the tribunal), and
  • if the failure continues after the initial penalty has been imposed by the tribunal, a continuing penalty not exceeding £60 per day (which is imposed by an authorised officer).

Where the return etc is to be made on service of a notice, no penalty may be imposed once the failure has been remedied.

For a failure to provide information etc within Table 2 (returns etc required by legislation or regulations without the need for a notice from the Inspector, for example P11Ds) it is only the continuing daily penalties that cannot be imposed after the failure is remedied, and the initial maximum £300 can still be imposed.

The penalty for negligently or fraudulently making a false return etc is a sum not exceeding £3,000. The offence is committed when the return etc is delivered. If there is no date stamp of receipt or covering letter the date the return etc is signed should be taken.

If an incorrect return of any other nature is made as a result of an innocent error, there is possibly no legal obligation on the taxpayer to correct it (but see para 760 of Halsbury’s Laws of England, EM5106). You may well feel in such a case that you will need to be amply satisfied that it was indeed an innocent error.