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If a civil penalty has been assessed, it can be withdrawn and replaced with a civil evasion penalty or prosecution action taken.