Despite what my sons would have you believe, the golf links are not the only courses that I go on. I was at a tax course at Haydock Park Races a few months ago listening to the wonderful Amanda Fisher and she was talking about the new HMRC penalty regime following tax enquiries. This struck, a chord as I had taken on a new client who was in the middle of an enquiry and there was going to be a tax payment at the end of it as income had been left off his returns. I had a chat with Amanda after her presentation just to clarify a few points and went away to research the situation more thoroughly. Several months passed and I finally convinced HMRC that the client hadn’t acted fraudulently and that it was a genuine mistake. To pre-empt the question of penalties, I sent them a letter explaining why they shouldn’t charge any, based on Amanda’s notes and my background reading.
I am pleased to report that HMRC have reluctantly accepted my findings and have suspended any penalties for my client. As this could have cost him between £900 and £3,000 this was a significant vitory on penalties.
Cheers Amanda, the next time we meet up, the drinks are on me!