Taxation logo taxation mission text

Since 1927 the leading authority on tax law, practice and administration

This week's opinion

11 July 2018
Issue: 4655 / Categories: Comment & Analysis

Innocent errors are almost inevitable

Is it ever possible for a taxpayer to make an innocent error? Surely the answer must be yes. Indeed our tax system is so complex that it is a source of amazement that anybody can navigate it without making the occasional mistake. But does HMRC agree?

Recent examples in the courts suggest that it does not. In a VAT appeal heard by the First-tier Tribunal – Godolphin (TC6515)  – HMRC said: ‘In all circumstances there can be no reasonable excuse as a result of genuine mistakes.’ Thankfully the tribunal said that there was ‘no basis for that view.’

When the new penalties regime came in we welcomed the fact that there was a specific rule that there would be no sanction if the error was made ‘despite taking reasonable care’. In other words innocent errors would not be punished.

Anecdotal evidence from colleagues in firms large and small is that...

If you or your firm subscribes to, please click the login box below:

If you are not a subscriber but are a registered user or have a free trial, please enter your details in the following boxes:

Alternatively, you can register free of charge to read a limited amount of subscriber content per month.
Once you have registered, you will receive an email directing you back to read this item in full.

Please reach out to customer services at +44 (0) 330 161 1234 or '' for further assistance.

back to top icon