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HMRC internal manual

VAT Civil Penalties

HM Revenue & Customs
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Default Surcharge: Reviews and appeals: Circumstances in which a surcharge may be cancelled

A surcharge may be cancelled because

  • the return and payment were dispatched in time to reach HMRC by the due date
  • a surcharge has been calculated at too high a rate or that part payment of the tax due has not been taken into account
  • there are exceptional circumstances which justify removal of the default
  • there is a reasonable excuse for the default.


Note: There is no right of appeal against a Help Letter as this is not part of the default surcharge system. Nevertheless as a matter of policy you should cancel a default that resulted in a Help Letter being issued if there is a reasonable excuse.

If a Help Letter is cancelled you may also need to amend any subsequent defaults.