In Donaldson v HMRC [2016] EWCA Civ 761 the Court of Appeal confirmed that HMRC had correctly imposed daily late filing penalties under Schedule 55 FA 2009.  This decision is important as there have been a number of cases put on hold awaiting its outcome.

The case concerned whether the daily penalties issued by HMRC in respect of the taxpayer’s 2010/11 self-assessment return were valid.

The First Tier Tribunal (FTT) previously found that, as HMRC had not given a notice to the taxpayer specifying the date from which the daily penalties applied, those penalties were not valid.

The Upper Tribunal (UT) however subsequently overturned that decision and found that the daily penalties had been correctly imposed.

The Court of Appeal has now upheld the decision of the UT, finding that:

The UT had observed that HMRC had probably not satisfied its obligations under para 18 when issuing the penalty assessment, but it did not consider this in detail the issue was not under appeal. 

The Court of Appeal did go onto consider this point, again finding in favour of HMRC:

The taxpayer’s appeal was therefore rejected.


This decision is of interest as many taxpayers had appealed daily penalties based on the FTT decision and further appeals on behalf of the taxpayer.  As a result a large number of appeals were stayed behind this case.

HMRC’s success at the Court of Appeal may prove to be the final nail in the coffin for these appeals.  The taxpayer has been represented pro bono with minimal personal involvement to date, so it is highly doubtful that a further appeal will be made.


Our free view guide: How to appeal a tax penalty

Our more detailed guide for subscribers: How to appeal a tax penalty (subscriber version)

Case references:

Morgan and Donaldson v HMRC - First Tier Tribunal

HMRC v Donaldson [2014] UKUT 0536 (TCC) - Upper Tribunal

Donaldson v HMRC [2016] EWCA Civ 761 – Court of Appeal