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Opposing HMRC penalties on grounds of reasonable excuse

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JUL 2017

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Recent reports have shed light on some of the most unusual cases where self-assessment taxpayers have managed to successfully appeal late filing and late payment penalties issued by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).

In one instance, a taxpayer named Magdalena Trzcińska successfully appealed a late filing penalty thanks to a well looked-after ‘signed for’ Post Office slip, according to reports.

Ms Trzcińska had submitted her 2011/12 self-assessment return to HMRC on 29 May – but the tax return had not been received by the Revenue.

Despite this, a Tax Tribunal took into account the fact that the return had indeed been sent to HMRC on time – as evidenced by a ‘signed for’ slip stamped by the Post Office.

The envelope could not be located via the Parcelforce Track and Trace system, however, a Judge noted that the audit trail would have been lacking anyway unless Ms Trzcińska had personally handed the envelope across the counter to a Post Office member of staff.

The Tribunal’s decision came despite the fact that separate evidence suggested Ms Trzcińska had later tried to rectify the matter by submitting a second self-assessment return to HMRC five months after the deadline.

This separate evidence was presented to the Tribunal, but did not disturb its finding that the ‘signed for’ slip proved a paper return had been submitted 13 months’ previously.

Registered office: 61 Friar Gate, Derby, Derbyshire, DE1 1DJ

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