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HMRC internal manual

Senior Accounting Officer Guidance

From
HM Revenue & Customs
Updated
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In what circumstances is a penalty chargeable: failure to notify Senior Accounting Officer name on time

A qualifying company should know on any given day who its Senior Accounting Officer (SAO) is. It should therefore be a straightforward task to notify the relevant details to HMRC after the end of the financial year and before the time limit.

Where a qualifying company fails to notify HMRC of the name(s) of the person(s) who has/have been its SAO in a financial year, a penalty of £5,000 is chargeable on the company for its financial year.

The failure occurs on the day after the period allowed for the notification to be made.

Example

A public limited company has a financial year ending 31 December 2012. It has until 30 June 2013 to submit its accounts to Companies House. It has that same period to notify the details of its SAO to HMRC but does not do so. The failure occurs on 1 July 2013.

Where a company is a member of a group

Each company is responsible for notifying the details of its SAOs for a financial year.

However, see the following situations.

Situation 1

The financial year of this company ends on the same day as all the other group companies,

and

we have already charged a penalty on one of the other group companies,

Can we charge a penalty for a failure to notify the SAOs names?

We cannot charge a similar penalty in respect of any of the other companies in the group.

Situation 2

The financial year of this company does not end on the same day as all the other group companies,

and

we have already charged a penalty on one of the group companies whose financial year ends in this company’s financial year,

Can we charge a penalty for a failure to notify the SAOs names?

We cannot charge a penalty on this company.

Situation 3

No other group company has been charged a penalty in the situations above.

Can we charge a penalty for a failure to notify the SAOs names?

We can charge a penalty on this company.

Example

There are three companies within a group. The companies’ financial year ends are:

  • Company A - 30 June
  • Company B - 30 September
  • Company C - 31 December.

We charge a penalty for failing to notify SAO details on company A in respect of its financial year ended 30 June 2011. This financial year end date is within company B’s financial year ended 30 September 2011 and company C’s financial year ended 31 December 2011. We could not charge a similar penalty in relation to these two financial years even if those companies had failed to notify their SAO details for those two financial years.

However, if we had charged a penalty for failing to notify SAO details on company B in respect of its financial year ended 30 September 2011 first, the situation would be different. In that case, when we came to consider the failure of company A, we could also charge company A with a penalty for its financial year ended 30 June 2011. This is because, although we have already charged a penalty for failing to notify SAO details on company B, its financial year does not end within the relevant financial year of company A. However, we could not charge a penalty on company A for its following year, the year to 30 June 2012, if there was a similar failure.

To ensure that Customer Relationship Managers (CRMs) or the Mid-sized Business Customer Engagement Team (CET) apply correct treatment of further failures that may arise CRMs or the CET should maintain a record of penalties assessed for failure to notify SAO details in group situations, especially where there are differing financial year ends.

If CRMs or the CET need advice in such cases they should contact their nominated business contact.

Reasonable excuse

Even where the circumstances for a penalty are met, the company will not be liable to a penalty for failing to notify the name of its SAO if it has a reasonable excuse for not doing so.

Where the company claims it had a reasonable excuse for the failure, see SAOG20000, it must notify HMRC of the name of the SAO without unreasonable delay after the reasonable excuse ceased to exist.

FA09/SCH46/PARA7

FA09/SCH46/PARA8

FA09/SCH46/PARA9(4)