Tribunal case – Fixed penalty notice not properly authorised
A recent Tribunal case considered whether a fixed penalty charge of £400 for failure to make a P35 annual employer return had been properly imposed.
The case interestingly concerned the validity of a penalty notice which was issued after the person it was ‘issued by’ had retired. In this case, the penalty notice was dated 3 October 2008 and ‘signed’ by the HMRC Area Director whose last day in the office was 8 August 2008 and who had officially retired on 31 August 2008.
The Tribunal was told that the print run had not been changed to reflect the name of the new Area Director. HMRC also confirmed that no other officer would have authorised the fixed penalty charge which was automatically generated.
The Tribunal found in favour of the taxpayer and ruled that the payment had been improperly imposed. There was no need for the Tribunal to consider whether the taxpayer had a reasonable excuse for failing to make a P35 annual employer return or not as the taxpayer won on the first point.