A consistent approach to compliance checks and penalties

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has introduced legislation to standardise powers, deterrents and safeguards across our taxes where it makes sense to do so.

The changes followed consultation with agents, customers, representative bodies, and staff. Over time they will make the tax system more consistent.

Compliance checks

Every year HMRC carries out checks to see if the correct tax has been paid. From 1 April 2010 there will be one system across many of our taxes:

  • to obtain information about your tax
  • to inspect your business records
  • for the amount of time you have to make tax claims
  • for the amount of time we have to make tax assessments

Find out more about the new compliance checks.

New penalties

From 1 April 2010 there will be:

  • an inaccuracy penalty for inaccurate tax documents and returns across most taxes - see list of taxes
  • a failure to notify penalty across most taxes when people don't tell us about a relevant obligation at the correct time, e.g. to register for a tax - see list of taxes
  • a new VAT and Excise wrongdoing penalty

Find out how you can take care to avoid a penalty.

Publishing details of deliberate defaulters

From 1 April 2010 under strictly controlled circumstances HMRC can publish the details of taxpayers who are penalised for deliberately evading more than £25,000 of tax.

Find out more about publishing details of deliberate defaulters.

PAYE late payment penalties

From 6 April 2010 new penalties will apply to all employers who do not pay PAYE, NICs, Construction Industry Scheme deductions and student loan deductions on time and in full. It replaces an existing penalty under the Mandatory Electronic Payment (MEP) scheme, which affected employers with 250 or more employees.

Find out more about late payment penalties.

HMRC will be publishing a new guide about the late payment penalties on 6 April.

What you can do if you disagree with HMRC decisions

In most cases if you disagree with HMRC decision's, including the decision to charge a penalty, you can appeal. From 1 April 2009 HMRC has also offered the option of an internal review of tax decisions that can be appealed, with the aim of resolving issues as quickly as possible.

Follow the link below to find out what you need to do and when. The process is different depending on the type of decision you disagree with.

What to do if you disagree with HMRC decisions