Meeting the obligations to file returns and pay tax on time: draft legislation and commentary

Comments from ACCA to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), February 2010.

ACCA is pleased to comment on the above consultation on the draft legislation introducing Indirect Taxes and Excise Duties into the late filing and late payment penalty regime. ACCA acknowledges the value of continuing dialogue and feedback in this area.

The draft legislation simply inserts into the existing tables the statutory references for the taxes now brought within the ambit of the Sch 55 and 56 penalty regimes. ACCA has no particular comment on this purely administrative aspect of the process beyond noting with approval the insertion of the word 'deliberately' for clarification where appropriate within the clauses relating to withholding of information.

Having reviewed also the explanatory notes relating to the amendments to each Schedule, ACCA thanks HMRC for the effort which has been put into trying to explain the provisions in simplified terms. The explanatory notes present an opportunity for HMRC to provide an alternative presentation of the provisions which is easier for non-professionals and those without legal training to understand. ACCA recognise the difficulty which this exercise poses in administrative legislation of this type, and would suggest that the tabular format adopted by the underlying legislation might usefully be adopted in the explanatory notes, especially in the sections covering the escalating regime of penalties for failure to pay tax on time.