If you rely on your accountant’s advice regarding a tax issue, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) will now regard you as having taken ‘reasonable care’ to get things right and will not impose a penalty.

On 14 February, HMRC issued new guidance relating to the penalties regime for failure to take reasonable care in making tax returns. It states that if you have ‘used a tax adviser with the appropriate expertise, HMRC would normally consider this as having taken reasonable care’ unless you do not give them ‘accurate and complete information’. It warns that ‘if you don’t, and you send HMRC a return or other document that’s inaccurate, you could be charged penalties for inaccuracies’.

The relaxation does not apply when it relates to a tax avoidance arrangement which is subsequently defeated by HMRC.

The guidance came a week after a taxpayer who was misadvised by his accountant relating to the availability of loss reliefs on furnished holiday lettings had his penalties quashed by the First-tier Tribunal.


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