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HMRC internal manual

PAYE Manual

HM Revenue & Customs
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Reconcile individual: HMRC delay: ESC A19: failure to use information - type of information

The opening paragraph of ESC A19 specifies that arrears of income tax and capital gains tax may be given up if they result from HMRC failure to make proper and timely use from information supplied by

  • A taxpayer about his or her own income, gains or personal circumstances


  • An employer, if the information affects a taxpayer’s coding


  • The DWP, about a taxpayer’s state retirement, disability (this includes Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) claims notified on ESA1) or widow’s pension

Information from the taxpayer can also include information sent by their agent.

Information received from a pension payer is classed as employer information.

HMRC may be notified of a source of additional income before the tax year in which the taxpayer is likely to receive it. Where this is the case, consider the following points

  • As the concession relates to arrears, for information to be relevant it must indicate, or lead to a determination, that additional tax is payable
  • The reviewing officer must consider whether proper use has been made of the information and whether arrears were notified in a timely manner so as to avoid unreasonable delay; timely means that arrears are notified 12 months or less after the end of the tax year in which arrears arose

Where the reviewing officer has determined that HMRC had failed to make proper and timely use of information, and is also satisfied that the taxpayer reasonably believed that their tax affairs were in order, relief under the Concession may be granted.

Where HMRC notifies arrears less than 12 months after the relevant tax year, relief may only be considered under exceptional circumstances where

  • HMRC is satisfied that it was reasonable for the taxpayer to believe that their tax affairs were in order


  • HMRC has failed more than once to act on information about the same source of income
  • As a result, arrears of tax have built up over two or more whole tax years (that is, the year ended 5 April), of which CY-1 is the latest (see PAYE95070)

For example, HMRC processes information that was received in January 2009 relevant to income for the year 2010-11. This information leads to arrears identified at reconciliation in July 2011. Although the arrears were notified more than 12 months after the end of the tax year in which the information was received, HMRC made proper use of the information because the arrears were notified within 12 months after the end of the year in which the arrears arose. The concession will therefore only apply if the exceptional circumstances criteria are met.

Where information affecting personal tax liability is alleged to have been provided to unconnected parts of HMRC, or in such a form or manner that HMRC could not reasonably have acted upon it, then the request under the concession should be refused.