A freedom of information request has revealed that HMRC cancelled 270,000 late penalty notices in 2016.
However, this figure is minimal compared with previous years:
2014 – 400,000 Cancellations
2015 – 610,000 Cancellations
The request was made by a partner in a legal firm, who found he was issued with a late penalty notice, despite having submitted his tax return two months previous.
While HMRC revealed the number of late penalty notices that were cancelled over the three-year period, it did not disclose how many of these were the consequence of errors on the part of the Revenue, as opposed to the taxpayer having a reasonable excuse for late filing.
A spokesperson for HMRC said: “We don’t want penalties, we just want tax returns,” said an HMRC spokesperson. “Taxpayers with a reasonable excuse for filing late or who have been taken out of SA do not have to pay penalties. Taxpayers who file on time are not issued with penalties.”