We have reported many cases where taxpayers have had penalties overturned by the tribunals. The latest one involved an arithmetical error of £4 resulting HMRC trying to apply a penalty of £600. In another recent case “marriage difficulties and ill health” were found to be reasonable excuses for a late return and penalties were cancelled by the tribunal.
It sometimes can seem as HMRC issue penalties in an almost scattergun fashion, hoping some will just be paid but accepting many will be appealed and cancelled. On the other hand the tax tribunals seem keen to knock back HMRC given the opportunity. The message is clear, if you receive a penalty from HMRC it can be well worth appealing against it.