Even tax deadlines, it seems, can occasionally be tinged with mercy. The First-tier Tribunal (FTT) has upheld a company’s appeal against a penalty for late payment of VAT on the basis that its principal director – an elderly man who was prone to forgetfulness – got his dates confused.
The 77-year-old director of an award framing business had believed that the relevant quarter day fell at the end of September 2013 and that the VAT was therefore due on October 10. The due date was in fact September 10. He had arranged immediate electronic payment on realising his mistake, but the company was nevertheless hit with a £1,127 penalty by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).
In allowing the company’s appeal, the FTT accepted that the director had made a genuine mistake and that his age and declining memory constituted a ‘reasonable excuse’ for the delayed payment. In assessing whether he had acted reasonably, the FTT noted that his age and state of health were relevant. He had since altered his payment systems to ensure that that the same would not happen again.