Penalty for just one day

 Consider the following facts:

  • The filing deadline for a Stamp Duty Land Tax return was a Sunday.
  • A member of the advisor’s staff forgot to file the return by the end of the Friday – two days before the deadline.
  • Realising their mistake, the staff member took the file home with the intention of filing over the weekend.
  • Due to problems with internet access it was impossible to file the return before the deadline expired.

The return was subsequently filed the next working day, a Monday – one day late.

HMRC charged a late filing penalty and the tax payer appealed.

The court decided that the penalty had been charged in accordance with legislation and the tax payer had no grounds to appeal. The fact that internet access was not available did not affect the issue. The First-tier Tribunal noted that “leaving matters to the last minute was a recipe for disaster” and that it did not have jurisdiction to decide on the fairness of a penalty.