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This week's opinion

07 February 2017
Issue: 4586 / Categories: Comment & Analysis

Take care with appeals against penalties

What happens if your client does not accept that he has failed to take reasonable care but HMRC offers to suspend the penalty? Some clients will take a pragmatic decision. Their main concern will be that they do not have to pay anything and therefore will agree to suspension terms. Others however will treat it as a matter of principle: they have not done anything wrong and therefore there should be no question of there being a penalty on their record even if it has been suspended.

What happens when the taxpayer contests the penalty and loses? This was an issue in Najib (TC5641). The taxpayers lost their appeal against the assessment and the penalty. As a result the penalty became payable because the tribunal has no power to suspend a penalty.

Is that fair? In some ways it is. The taxpayer took his chance before the tribunal and...

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