Revenue and Customs: Fines

Treasury written question – answered on 12th April 2019.

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Photo of Peter Dowd Peter Dowd Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will publish the HMRC penalties issued in 2018 by size of business.

Photo of Mel Stride Mel Stride Financial Secretary to the Treasury and Paymaster General

The purpose of penalties is to encourage taxpayers to comply with their obligations, act as a sanction for those who do not and to reassure those who do comply that they will not be disadvantaged by those who do not. Penalties are not used as a revenue-raising mechanism.

Parliament determines the laws relating to tax and to whom they apply. HMRC apply those laws fairly and do not discriminate between different taxpayers or size of business.

HMRC can apply a large number of different penalties, but they break down into three broad areas:

• Automatic penalties for failure to meet a time-bound obligation, such as submitting returns or making payments by a specified deadline;

• Penalties for failure to meet a regulatory obligation, such as the requirement to keep certain records; and

• Behaviour-based penalties for inaccurate returns and documents and failure to notify taxable status.

A penalty is not payable if a person had a reasonable excuse for failing to meet an obligation or took reasonable care to avoid submitting an inaccurate return.

HMRC does not record data on penalties issued by size of business.

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