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HMRC internal manual

Excise Civil Penalties Manual

HM Revenue & Customs
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General principles: Reasonable excuse

Most excise civil penalties are subject to the reasonable excuse provision contained in Section 10 of the Finance Act 1994.

Where a person has a reasonable excuse for the conduct which caused the breach, for example, unforeseen short term illness or sudden death of personnel with key roles relating to the breach, or computer failure at a critical time, there is no liability to a penalty.

Guidance on reasonable excuse can be found at ECP8000.