In Oasis Church Trust v HMRC [2016] TC 05360 agent registration delays and attempts to file paper returns instead failed to provide a reasonable excuse and penalties were charged for late filing of employer annual returns.

HMRC mandated that from 2009/10 all employer annual returns (P35 and P14) had to be filed electronically.

  • The taxpayer did not file their annual returns for 2009/10 on time.
  • They claimed that this was because they had not received an authorisation code from HMRC to register their agent online.
  • They also argued that they had twice sought to submit paper copies of the returns instead.

The First Tier Tribunal (FTT) found that:

  • Waiting for the code was not a reasonable excuse for late filing: they should have applied for this in time to meet the deadline.
  • Paper returns were not an acceptable alternative.
  • The returns had still not been filed at the date of trial: even if there had been a reasonable excuse this would now have ended.

The FTT therefore dismissed the appeal and upheld the penalties.


From April 2013 most employers submit payroll information to HMRC in real time and are no longer required to submit forms P14 or P35.  Penalties still apply to in year and year end submissions, see Penalties: RTI (real time information) for PAYE.


Case reference: Oasis Church Trust v HMRC [2016] TC 05360