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HMRC internal manual

Senior Accounting Officer Guidance

Tax compliance risk management process for customers managed by Large Business: response to the provision of a certificate - general

A Customer Relationship Manager (CRM) must carry out or commission some immediate checks when they receive a certificate, although they might carry out a full consideration of the certificate at a later stage, see SAOG16700.

The immediate action must include

  • checking that the certificate contains the necessary information, see SAOG15200, and
  • checking whether the certificate is timely.

If the certificate is late the CRM must consider whether a penalty might be due, see SAOG18500. If necessary they should take the appropriate penalty action, see SAOG19000, and take this lateness into account in future risk assessing, which will include drawing the company’s attention to this lateness.

WARNING: When the CRM discusses the lateness of the certificate with the company or group they must not discuss whether or not we are considering raising, or have raised, a penalty on the SAO, see SAOG18800.

If it appears that a penalty may be due it is important that the CRM follows the penalty procedure as soon as the failure has come to the attention of an officer of HMRC. This is because there is a restrictive time limit, see SAOG21200, for taking penalty action. Following the ordered steps set out at SAOG19000 the CRM must discuss the potential penalty situation with their Deputy Director and obtain the approval of the Penalties Consistency Panel, before then explaining to the SAO (separately from other risks being addressed to the company/group) that

  • there has been a failure and
  • they intend to charge a penalty.

A failure ‘comes to the attention’ of a HMRC officer when that officer knows that there has been a failure. So, for example, if a CRM receives a late certificate and reads it on the date of receipt, this would be the date when the failure comes to their attention.

If the SAO provides a late certificate after they incur a penalty for failing to provide a certificate by the time limit the CRM must refer to SAOG16700 for guidance on considering the nature and content of that certificate.

Specific situations might arise between the CRM and the SAO in connection with the provision of a certificate

  • if the CRM expects a certificate and one is provided, see SAOG16610
  • if the CRM does not expect a certificate and one is provided, see SAOG16620.