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HMRC internal manual

Enquiry Manual

Penalties: formal assessments and determinations: when to issue

You should issue formal penalty assessments and determinations when

  • constructive discussions leading to an agreed position are unlikely and any tax assessments are likely to be contentious and appealed EM5207, or
  • the taxpayer requests early closure of our enquiries and the tribunal gives a direction EM1990.

You will also need to issue penalty assessments or determinations if exceptionally they were not considered when the tax assessments were issued, especially if any of the following circumstances apply:

  • the taxpayer is elderly or seriously ill and there is a danger that death would lead to the restriction on penalties, see EM5002, or
  • penalty time limits are in danger of expiring, see EM5001 and CH83040, or
  • there is a serious risk that the taxpayer may leave the country permanently or remove their assets abroad.