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HMRC internal manual

Senior Accounting Officer Guidance

How to use this guidance

This guidance is presented in a way that explains

  • what certain companies and their Senior Accounting Officer (SAO) must do in order to comply with the SAO provisions, see SAOG10000 - SAOG15800
  • the compliance processes that HMRC must consider or carry out, see SAOG16000 and SAOG17000
  • the different penalties involved in the SAO provisions, see SAOG18000 - SAOG18800
  • the process HMRC must follow when considering whether a person is liable to a penalty, see SAOG19000 - SAOG19800, and
  • how reasonable excuse, penalty assessing, appeals and other matters are dealt with, see SAOG20000 onwards.

Each Chapter starts at the most general level of information in the overview and drills down to give more detailed guidance.

Companies which are qualifying for SAO may be managed by either:

  • HMRC’s Large Business and will be allocated a Customer Compliance Manager (CCM), or
  • HMRC’s Wealthy and Mid-sized Business Compliance directorate and will not have an allocated CCM. Instead they will be managed by the Mid-sized Business Customer Engagement Team (CET) which may allocate to a Caseworker.

The differences are explained throughout and you should follow the relevant guidance, see SAOG05010. In particular to avoid confusion in titles, roles and process guidance on the tax compliance risk management process for SAO is split between section SAOG16000 for businesses managed by Large Business and section SAOG17000 for businesses managed by Wealthy and Mid-sized Business Compliance.

It is not intended that this guidance be read like a book, but is to be used as a reference document that you can easily navigate to locate the information you need.

The blue hyperlinks within the pages of the guidance will help you to navigate to related pages from the guidance you are reading.

The guidance also uses the standard referencing facility, so if you wish to see other guidance or legislation referred to in the guidance simply

  • highlight the guidance reference or legislation you wish to see,
  • right click on the highlighted text,
  • select the search option,

then you will be taken to the required guidance or legislation as long as it is has been published on the Intranet.