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Soggy middle ground

30 September 2014 / Ivan Woolgrove , Mike Down
Issue: 4471 / Categories: Comment & Analysis , penalties , Admin , Compliance , Investigations
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Taxpayer behaviour is a major influence on HMRC penalty calculations

KEY POINTS

  • The CIOT’s initial review of the penalty regime suggested a “soggy middle ground” where HMRC might be reluctant to find deliberate behaviour.
  • A tightening up of the “deliberate” definition now means that HMRC may apply the benefit of hindsight.
  • HMRC may be seeking cases to take to the tribunal.
  • Deliberate behaviour can mean higher penalties with no possibility of their suspension.
  • Naming and shaming and inclusion in the managing serious defaulter programme can be real risks where deliberate behaviour is proven.
  • The possibility of a tax investigation covering 20 years should not be overlooked.

The creation of HMRC in 2005 resulted in a significant harmonisation of the powers of the former Inland Revenue and HM Customs & Excise departments.

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