Civil penalty for non-compliance with VAT obligations

Generally, the penalties concerning VAT are imposed under the civil law, rather than under the criminal law, so:

(1)the standard of proof is the balance of probabilities, rather than beyond reasonable doubt; and

(2)the burden of proof generally rests with the trader.

If HMRC assess a civil penalty, that penalty stands unless the taxpayer successfully appeals. This contrasts with a criminal penalty, where HMRC must go to court and there prove their case, in order to persuade the court to impose the penalty (¶59-600).

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