In ESE Rendering Solutions Limited v HMRC [2019] TC07137 an appeal against 33 late filing CIS return penalties was allowed. HMRC failed to provide any evidence that penalty assessments had ever been issued.

  • The company appealed against 34 separate late filing penalties, totalling £6,900 charged in respect of late filing of Construction Industry Scheme contractor returns for a succession of periods from August 2015 to January 2017.
  • The company claimed it had not received any penalty notices and that it had a reasonable excuse for its failure.

Before the First Tier Tribunal (FTT) HMRC failed to show any penalties had been issued.

  • There was only evidence of one of the penalty which was produced by the taxpayer.
  • The FTT did not find from written evidence that the company had a reasonable excuse for their late filing failures and the director did not provide any oral evidence at the hearing.

The FTT allowed the appeal for 33 out of the 34 penalties and the remaining penalty remained payable.


Obviously, a messy case in terms of case management and it shows that HMRC's systems are still not performing correctly. Ideally this kind of problem can be 'weeded out' by a Statutory Review (if one was offered or performed).

Practical guides on this topic

Penalties for CIS filing and payment failures
Summary for CIS 

Penalties: Late filing
How & why penalties are calculated

How to Appeal a Tax Penalty
Step by step guide to ensure that you appeal all the right things

Statutory Review (SR)
The part of the process where you can request that an independent HMRC officer reviews a decision made by another officer

Grounds for Appeal: Toolkit
It's vital to understand and correctly state your grounds for appeal

Grounds for Appeal: HMRC error
An error by HMRC can invalidate an assessment: this guide tracks key decisions on this ever changing topic.

Grounds for Appeal: Reasonable Excuse
What is a reasonable excuse and why is it important to consider whether you have one?

External link

ESE Rendering Solutions Limited v HMRC [2019] TC07137