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HMRC internal manual

Excise Civil Penalties Manual

Reviews and appeals: Contraventions where the reasonable excuse does not apply

For CEMA Section 170A, repealed with effect from 01 April 2010 but still applicable for earlier breaches, the reasonable excuse provision does not apply by Section 170A(2).

In the amendment to HODA Sections 22(1), 22(1AA), 22(1AB) and 23(1) the reasonable excuse provision does not apply by Sections 22(1A) and 23(1A).

Where the reasonable excuse provision does not apply it is necessary to show, on the balance of probability, that the person was aware that his action represented a contravention.

Unacceptable excuses

Section 10(3) of the Finance Act 1994 specifies two factors that do not constitute reasonable excuse

  • an insufficiency of funds available for paying any duty or penalty due shall not be a reasonable excuse, and
  • where reliance is placed by any person on another to perform any task, then neither the fact of that reliance nor the fact that any conduct to which Section 9 above applies was attributable to the conduct of that other person shall be a reasonable excuse.