Thousands of fixed penalty notices were incorrectly issued in March 2021 and HMRC have advised that it was due to software issues. All affected penalty notices have been reissued.

The SA326D £100 Late-filing penalty notices for 2019/20 were issued in a bulk run on 23 March 2021. Upon receipt, many agents realised they had received notices in error for taxpayers for whom they did not act. Many agents received multiple correct and incorrect notices in one envelope.  

Once aware of the issue, HMRC investigated and reported that the issue was caused by the software and potentially inadequate testing.

  • The issue impacted 32,075 taxpayers as part of the bulk run of SA326D notices.
  • 18,496 notices went to the wrong agent.
  • 13,579 notices went to the correct agent.
  • 15,459 agents received incorrect envelopes (with the wrong letter or without the correct letter).
  • 2 taxpayers received 5 agent notices in total for other taxpayers.

The penalty notices have all been reissued to the correct agents.

Agents who have incorrectly received notices are advised:

  • To dispose of the notices as confidential waste.
  • Alternatively, return the notices to HMRC: SA3326D, Central Mail Unit, S1250, Benton Park View, Longbenton, Newcastle, NE98 1ZZ.
  • Contact the HMRC Data Protection Officer with any issues at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Disclosure of personal information, including Unique Taxpayer References (UTRs), is a breach of the UK General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Data Protection Act 2018. A report has been made to the Information Commissioner's Office.

HMRC have announced they are conducting a review to understand what happened and what can be done to ensure it does not happen again.

Useful guides on this topic

Penalties: Late Filing
Late returns can be subject to a mix of fixed and tax geared penalties. What penalties apply for late filing? Which penalty will apply and when? 

How to Appeal a Tax Penalty
What are the steps in making an appeal? What should your appeal cover? What does recent case law say on this topic? This guide summarises the process for appealing a tax penalty. 

GDPR: General Data Protection Regulation  
What is GDPR? Who does it apply to? What obligations does it impose and what are the consequences of a breach of the rules?


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