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HMRC internal manual

Excise Civil Evasion Penalty

Liability to an excise civil evasion penalty: double jeopardy

No person is to be put into ‘double jeopardy’ by being penalised more than once for the same conduct. For example, a person who has been prosecuted must not be assessed for a civil penalty for the same conduct.

However, it should be noted that it is not double jeopardy to impose two separate evasion penalties on different duties arising as a result of the same action.

It is important to make a prompt decision whether

  • to take civil evasion action
  • prosecution action
  • to assess for a civil penalty.

Civil penalty guidance confirms that penalties should be issued promptly after the error comes to light.

If a civil penalty has been assessed, it can be withdrawn and replaced with a civil evasion penalty or prosecution action taken.