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HMRC internal manual

Excise Civil Penalties Manual

How to apply the penalties: Broad categories of multiple contraventions

Category A

A taxpayer is in breach of only one regulation or condition but because of the multiple nature of their business, they have breached the same regulation numerous times and are liable to a penalty for each breach.

Examples of this are

  • a taxpayer with 5 unlicensed gaming machines
  • a haulier with a fleet of vehicles using rebated fuel oil.

Category B

A taxpayer may undertake one act of misconduct which results in breaching a number of regulations.

For example, a haulier who uses rebated fuel oil in a vehicle is in breach of three regulations

  • fuelling the vehicle with red
  • using the vehicle
  • failing to mark the tank as using red.

In this case the haulier is potentially liable to 3 fixed penalties

Category C

A taxpayer who fails to render a return is liable to a fixed penalty. In some regimes assessments are automatically issued when returns are not rendered and if the taxpayer fails to pay the amount assessed they are in breach of a second regulation. This breach could incur both geared and daily penalties.

For example, if a brewer fails to render a return for beer released for home consumption, and so fails to pay the duty, he will be liable to

  • a fixed penalty, for failing to render the return on time, and
  • a geared penalty, for failing to pay the duty due.