Advisers will be delighted to hear that HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has launched new learning modules on the new penalty regime. However, the coursework will take you over TWO days to complete.

HMRC has released its internal staff training guidance in respect of its new powers and compliance check regime (as implemented over the past three finance acts). The move follows requests made by the various "representative bodies" for HMRC to share its staff guidance on the new regime with tax professionals.

As with any of HMRC's internal manuals the guidance cannot be relied upon in court as being correct interpretation of the law.

Interestingly the Chancellor in his Mansion House speech called for "less box ticking and more exercise of judgement"; although he was talking in the context of regulation of the banks, it is clear that many tax agents would like it to apply to tax too. At this rate most will be spending so much time trying to keep up to date with changes in the law that they will have little time to check if taxes are being assessed correctly. External links: HMRC new learning modules

All is not lost
To save you time we have summarised the changes to HMRC Powers and Penalties regime in the following guides (all the time you spend reading these guides will count towards CPD):

Tax penalties: advisers' update explains what, where, why and how, and is a useful summary to go through with clients.

Tax Agent Penalty Planner tells you what penalty applies and when across the different taxes and returns.

Tax compliance: powers to inspect businesses tells you about realtime checks and visits.

We also recommend:

Reasonable care and tax penalties as an essential part of your tax toolkit to go over with your clients. Think about changing your letter of engagement to reflect the changes if you have not already done so.