Assessing a penalty: when to assess a penalty
An assessment of a penalty for a failure in respect of a financial year or a careless or deliberate inaccuracy in a certificate for a financial year may not be made later than
- 6 months after the failure or inaccuracy first comes to the attention of an officer of Revenue & Customs, or
- 6 years after the end of the period for filing the company’s accounts for the financial year with Companies House.
A failure by a Senior Accounting Officer (SAO) or inaccuracy in a certificate will usually only come to HMRC’s attention after the name or names of its SAO have been notified to us, see SAOG12100 and SAOG16500 or SAOG17500. However if no notification has been received, see SAOG18550.
SAOG21300 - SAOG21302 provide some examples to show how the time limits apply.
So for a potential main duty or inaccuracy penalty Customer Compliance Managers (CCMs), the Mid-sized Business Customer Engagement Team (CET) or Caseworkers must make their
- first referral to the Penalties Consistency Panel (‘the panel’)
- further investigation of the penalty circumstances
- secondary referral to the panel, and
- subsequently their submission to the relevant Director in Large Business or the Assistant Director in Mid-sized Business
without delay once a failure or inaccuracy comes to their attention to ensure they do not miss the ‘assessing window’.
For a potential notification or certification timing penalty CCMs, the CET or Caseworkers must make their
- further investigation of the penalty circumstances and
- referral to the panel
without delay once a failure or inaccuracy comes to their attention to ensure they do not miss the ‘assessing window’. In complex, unusual or sensitive cases the CCM, CET or Caseworker should also allow time for submission and authorisation by the Director in Large Business or Assistant Director in Mid-sized Business if instructed to do so by the panel.