In Bernard Bediako v HMRC [2015] TC05054 an accountant's misunderstanding of self assessment and the appeals procedure resulted in a tax penalty for the taxpayer.

Mr Bediako was employed by two different employers who had correctly operated PAYE.

His accountant failed to report the tax deducted from one of his P60s correctly and he inserted a different figure: a tax overpayment resulted.

HMRC corrected the self assessment and charged a tax penalty for error in a taxpayer's document (sch 24 FA 2007).

The taxpayer's accountant failed to answer some of HMRC's letters and also misunderstood the appeals processes.

A late appeal was nevertheless allowed.

The First Tier Tribunal (FTT) found that:

  • The tax error was made by the accountant.
  • The taxpayer was familiar with form P60, he had previously discussed his tax debts with HMRC and he understood English.
  • He had been made aware of his accountant's failure to reply to HMRC during the course of HMRC's enquiry.
  • The taxpayer also failed to attend the hearing and any adjournment of the hearing to allow him to attend on another date would be expensive plus there was no guarantee that he would attend.

Although having some sympathy for the taxpayer, who was on a low income, the FTT upheld HMRC's penalty of £567.18 (30%).


  • The taxpayer's tax was simple: he had only four numbers to check and the judge thought that he was capable of double-checking them himself.
  • The judge also thought that the taxpayer could have been more cooperative during the enquiry.
  • Had the taxpayer personally attended the hearing, perhaps the judge might have been more lenient on penalties.


Our practical tax guides to:

Penalties: error in a taxpayer document

Appeal: negligence by an adviser

How to appeal a tax penalty

Case: Bernard Bediako v HMRC [2015] UKFTT TC05054