In the recent case of Scott Building Contractors Ltd v HMRC, the taxpayer appealed the late filing penalties imposed by HMRC on the basis that they had not one, but multiple reasons for filing their CIS returns late.
The director of the appellant company cited family reasons, a burglary and mental health problems. In addition, the business had recently commenced work on a large contract.
The director also provided evidence to show that their accountant was difficult to reach and did not respond promptly. Reliance on an accountant is not an acceptable excuse unless the taxpayer has taken reasonable care to avoid the failure.
Whilst the excuses in isolation would not have held, the first-tier tribunal ruled that, when considered together, they form a reasonable excuse.
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Please note: This article is a commentary on general principles and should not be interpreted as advice for your specific situation.