The value of HMRC tax penalties surged by 25 per cent between 2022 and 2023 to its the highest level on record, new data shows, as the government faces criticism for unfairly fining struggling businesses.
HMRC imposed £851m in penalties between November 2022 and October 2023, up from £681m in 2021/22, according to data obtained by accountancy firm UHY Hacker Young through a freedom of information request.
Penalties were also extended to nil or repayment returns that are received late, which Hacker Young said made it easier to trigger fines through simple paperwork errors.
Sean Glancy, a partner at Hacker Young, is quoted by City AM:
“HMRC is often not reasonable in removing penalties for genuine errors – they sometimes seem to operate with a ‘shoot first, ask questions later’ approach. Once a penalty is issued, the process is quite draconian, however about half of penalties are withdrawn on appeal.”
Given the Post Office scandal, it is all too evident that people can neither trust automated systems nor state run bodies. As such, if on the receiving end of a penalty that you feel is not justified:
Appeal! Appeal! Appeal!
Tax does have to be taxing.
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