Overseas insurers: reporting duties of tax representatives: penalties for failures to comply and audits
The tax representative and the overseas insurer are jointly and severally liable forpenalties if the tax representative fails to comply with the requirement to issue achargeable event certificate or is negligent in issuing an incorrect certificate. Thepenalties are the same as those applying to a UK insurer that fails to comply fully withthe requirements of ICTA88/S552.
The penalties that may be imposed are listed in TMA70/S98. There is amaximum initial penalty of £300 for a failure to deliver a certificate and a maximumcontinuing penalty of £60 per day for each day that the failure continues after theinitial penalty has been imposed. There is a maximum penalty of £3,000 where the insurerhas issued an incorrect certificate through negligence on its part.
HMRC has the power to audit a tax representative to ensure that the tax representativeand the overseas insurer are administering the reporting regime fully and correctly.Although the tax representative is responsible for issuing correct chargeable eventcertificates to policyholders and HMRC, it is not required to maintain the underlyingrecords. The overseas insurer would normally be responsible for that.
In the event of an audit, the tax representative is required to make available any books,documents, records and information that is needed in order for the auditors to check thatthe tax representative is carrying out its reporting duties properly. When setting thetimetable for an examination of the records the auditor would take into consideration thatthey are likely to be maintained elsewhere and would need to be transferred or sent to therepresentative.
As part of the audit the tax representative would also have to make available all internalguidance notes of the overseas insurer relating to chargeable events for its systems, bothcomputerised and manual.
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