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HMRC internal manual

Senior Accounting Officer Guidance

What to do when there may have been a failure or inaccuracy: overview

Where a Customer Compliance Manager (CCM), the Mid-sized Business Customer Engagement Team (CET) or a Caseworker thinks there has been a failure under the Senior Accounting Officer (SAO) provisions of Schedule 46 FA09, they must not raise a penalty assessment without first securing the necessary authorisation to do so. There are different authorisation processes for the different types of SAO penalties.

The authorisation process for penalties involving a main duty failure or an inaccurate certificate involves

  • Before discussing penalties with the SAO, making a submission to a Penalties Consistency Panel (‘the panel’) seeking the panel’s approval to discuss penalties with the SAO see SAOG19150 and SAOG19200
  • following discussions with the person, see SAOG19400 and SAOG19500, resubmitting the case to the panel see SAOG19600, and
  • should the panel decide a penalty is due, securing the authorisation of a Director in Large Business or Assistant Director in Mid-sized Business to issue the penalty, see SAOG19800.

The authorisation process for notification or certification timing failures involves

  • having discussed the failure with the company or SAO, as appropriate, submitting the case to the Penalties Consistency Panel, and
  • securing the authorisation of the Penalties Consistency Panel to either issue a penalty or close the case, see SAOG19730.

A template for submissions to the panel and Director/Assistant Director is available to all HMRC staff via the LB Operational Guidance Portal

There is a legal time limit for raising a penalty assessment so a CCM, the CET or a Caseworker must begin the authorisation process as soon as a failure comes to their attention.