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HMRC internal manual

Excise Civil Penalties Manual

HM Revenue & Customs
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The penalty process: Completing form EX601

The form EX601 is available on SEES. Below is guidance on how you should complete the appropriate fields on the form.


Assessment reference number

If you are issuing a penalty there is a mandatory requirement to obtain an Assessment Reference Number (ARN) from the relevant accounting centre; this number should be noted on form EX601.

Name and address

In the blank box on the top left corner of the form, insert the name and address of the person who is the subject of the penalty.

Where the person is registered with HMRC (or approved, authorised etc), make sure that you insert the correct registration details. These must be those of the legal entity that is liable to the penalty being assessed for.

A legal entity may be

  • an individual
  • a company
  • a partner
  • a partnership
  • a representative member of a VAT group
  • an individual or organisation acting in the capacity of personal representative
  • a pension scheme administrator
  • a trustee, and
  • collectives, partnerships and co-operatives that come together as a group for the production of bio fuel.

Keying operator’s stamp

The box at the top right of the form (marked ‘office use only’) should be stamped following computer input by the person who keys the document into the departmental accounting system.

Unique Reference Number

If the person is registered with HMRC (E.G. VAT registration; DTR; etc) insert the registration number in this box.

Vehicle registration

No longer used - rule through this box

Regime Indicator

In this box you should enter the OPS code that covers the type of work you were doing when you discovered the need to issue a penalty. This will facilitate the collation of statistics.

Details of penalty

Part of Form Notes on completion
Line Allows for easier identification of liabilities, either in general discussion or under dispute procedures. If you make an error in completing a line on the form, you should cross through the incorrect line and re-number all subsequent lines.
Period / default date You must record here the dates on which the liability to a penalty began and ended. This may result in single-line penalties covering periods ranging from one day to possibly several years.

If the penalty covers only one day, record the same date in both start and end boxes. Whatever the circumstances, you must record a date in both boxes.

When dealing with authorised taxpayers on fixed accounting periods you should allocate penalties to the return period in which the liability arose, showing the start and end date for each period.

Where you have split the liability to periods, record each period liability on a separate line. You should enter penalties in chronological order.    
  Penalty Record here the amount of the penalty.

You must use a separate line for each period if you are allocating the liability to different periods, and for each different type of penalty in each period.

For example, if you are notifying a 5% geared penalty and a daily penalty in the same period, you will need to use two separate lines, one for each penalty.    
  Attribution You must enter ‘P’ for penalties
  Penalty code When you issue a civil penalty you must record the type of penalty in the box marked ‘P’, in accordance with the codes on the reverse of the EX601. For penalty codes 2 and 4, you should note in the box marked ‘%/D’ the percentage applied to the duty amount to arrive at the penalty. If you apply a daily penalty, you should record in this box the number of days for which the penalty applies.
  Account code To ensure that penalties are correctly accounted for, you must record here the Departmental accounting system (CECAS) code that most closely corresponds to the reason for the penalty.


You must ensure that you code the penalty, of whatever type, to the appropriate regime specific CECAS code.    
  Totals (Two boxes immediately below line 8) You must record here the totals of lines 1 to 8, which give the amounts due to or from HMRC. Do not include in these boxes any totals from EX601A continuation sheets.

Amount due to HMRC

Record the total liability arising from the penalty in this box. Include in the calculation any amounts recorded on EX601a continuation sheets.

Issuing Officer

Insert your surname in this box. Include your title and initials if you wish, but leave a space (1 box) after each item.

Sign underneath and record your pay banding in the space marked ‘grade’

Date stamp

You must stamp this box to show the date the form is sent to the person.

Note: As the notification date is the date we use for assessment / penalty time limit purposes, when you stamp the form you should check that the start date for each penalty line is still within time.

The checking officer or the authorising officer, whichever is appropriate should sign and date the form.

Page…. of….

To be completed on both the EX601 and any EX601A to ensure that no pages are missed when the penalty is keyed into the accounting system.

Remittance copy (EX601(2))

Once you have completed the payment copy of the form (EX601(1)), you should complete the accounting centre details on the remittance copy.

The centre portion of the remittance copy is not self-carbonising. Before writing on this portion, make sure that you turn copies 3 and 4 out of the way so that the details you enter on copy 2 do not overwrite the existing penalty details onto those copies.

Indicate the accounting centre the person should send their payment to by

  • ticking the appropriate box if the correct address already appears on the form (check against the list at ECP7600, or
  • ticking ‘other’ and inserting the appropriate accounting centre details (copy from the list)

You should only request payment to be made to the accounting centre that issued you with your Assessment Reference Number.