In Munro Sawmills Limited v HMRC  TC 6645, the tribunal held that a company had reasonable excuse in its belief that it had filed its P11D(b) return on time.
- HMRC imposed a £400 Late filing penalty on the company for failing to submitting its P11D by the 6 July annual deadline.
- The company said it believed it had filed and appealed to the tribunal.
The First Tier Tribunal (FTT) found that:
- The company had paid its Class 1A national insurance was paid on time.
- HMRC said it sends out a computer acknowledgment of a submission: the company should have been alerted when it did not receive such a submission.
- The company said it did not receive such an acknowledgment in the four previous years when it submitted the return online.
- There was also a dispute as to what reminders were sent by HMRC: it could produce evidence that reminders were generated but not that they were sent.
- Penalties did not show on the taxpayer's online account: the company was only made aware of its failure once HMRC issued a penalty notice in November.
The tribunal noted that the company was conscientious in dealing with all tax matters and upheld the appeal.
The decision was finely balanced, the combination of lack of evidence and HMRC's delay in contacting the taxpayer tip the scales for the taxpayer.