Before the unified system of penalties, which was introduced by FA 2007, Sch. 24, the ‘reasonable excuse’ defence was the main basis for appealing against a civil penalty concerning VAT.

The defence of reasonable excuse does not apply to the penalties in FA 2007, Sch. 24 for errors, but no penalty is assessed if reasonable care had been taken. Thus, the many cases on what is reasonable remain relevant.

Reasonable excuse is still a defence against the penalty for:

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