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HMRC internal manual

Machine Games Duty

Operational: Compliance checks: penalties

As part of your compliance check you must consider penalties. Penalties may be due where:

  • you find errors on an MGD return, see the Compliance Handbook 
  • a return is submitted late or not submitted at all, see the Compliance Handbook 
  • a person fails to notify HMRC of their liability to MGD, see the Compliance Handbook 

Operational guidance in the Compliance Handbook takes caseworkers, their managers and authorising officers through the decisions and actions required in order to charge penalties.

You may also be able to charge Excise Civil Penalties. You should consider these where the penalties listed above are not appropriate. The Excise Civil Penalties can apply where the specific requirements, set out in regulations, are not met for:

  • MGD returns - fixed Excise penalty and daily penalties 
  • Payment of MGD - ‘tax geared’ penalty and daily penalties 

There is also an Excise Civil Penalty where a relevant machine is made available for use by others to play dutiable machine games, but there is no one registered in respect of the premises where the machine is located. There is an interaction between this penalty and the failure to notify penalty such that both penalties could be applied and charged against the same person, see the Compliance Handbook.

The legislation imposes an obligation to register for MGD within 14 days. Where a trader is given tenancy of a tenanted public house at short notice officers should consider applying the ‘reasonable excuse’ provisions, provided the failure is rectified as soon as possible and within a reasonable time.