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HMRC internal manual

Enquiry Manual

Contract settlements: acceptance: authorisation levels - local compliance

The guidance about contract settlements at EM6000+ only relates to direct tax. You must never include VAT or VAT penalties in a contract settlement.

A team manager, or a person with the appropriate training who has been delegated to act in the capacity of Authorising Officer, must authorise

  • standard cash offers including a tax geared penalty where the tax difference or potential lost revenue, does not exceed £99,999.
  • instalment offers that do not extend beyond 3 years

A Local Compliance Authorising Officer (LCAO) must authorise

  • standard cash offers where the tax difference or potential lost revenue is in total £100,000 or more and the behaviour is at least negligent, careless or non-deliberate,
  • instalment offers which exceed 3 years
  • all sub-standard offers that exceed the tolerances set out at EM6211 where there is no prospect of an improved offer,

Separate limits apply to Employer Compliance Settlements and these are in the Compliance Operational Guidance (COG) at COG914570.

If you need to send a case to an LCAO, you should do this without delay following the procedure at EMapp2. Your manager must countersign your AO Report Form to confirm that they have checked and agreed it. The LCAO will decide whether they can accept the offer of whether some further work is needed.

The LCAO will not undertake a review of the Authorising Officers decisions on penalties. They will only comment where, exceptionally, there are concerns about the validity of the penalty. You must follow the guidance at CH407050+ and EM5201+ relating to the authorisation of penalties, irrespective of whether they are going to be included in a contract offer or formally assessed or determined.