Case: Self Assessment Late Filing Penalties

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The appelant’s grounds of appeal were that she was unaware that she needed to file a tax return as she thought her boss would be doing this, and she understood from her contract that her employer would be doing her taxes. The First-tier Tribunal (FTT) found that neither the Return Summary printout nor a witness statement describing the process for printing and issuing notices proved on the balance of probability that a notice to file had been given to the appelant. Therefore, the late filing penalties had to be cancelled.

The FTT noted that:

‘Before any question of reasonable excuse comes into play, it is important to remember that the initial burden lies on HMRC to establish that events have occurred as a result of which a penalty is, prima facie, due. A mere assertion of the occurrence of the relevant events in a statement of case is not sufficient. Evidence is required and unless sufficient evidence is provided to prove the relevant facts on a balance of probabilities, the penalty must be cancelled without any question of “reasonable excuse” becoming relevant.’