HMRC Speak On News of Going Soft on Penalties

HMRC have today issued a news release, cleverly worded to get them out of the hole created by the leaked memo that led to newspaper headlines about self assessment penalty amnesties.

The media headlines were misleading and HMRC have confirmed that we should not be getting so excited.

They rightly point out that the deadline for appealing penalties has already passed, so taxpayers cannot change their behaviour in response to the leak.

They go on to say that their stance has not changed in that they will always allow an appeal when the taxpayer can show that he or she had a reasonable excuse for being late.  They have not said anything about their judgement of what is reasonable.  I suspect it is that interpretation that has softened and is behind the leak.

So, if you have an appeal already in the system, you may have a better chance than you might have previously thought.

Otherwise, the only tip I have for you is not to believe everything you read in the papers.