Penalties for breaches of the senior accounting officer (SAO) rules
Penalties for breaches of the senior accounting officer (SAO) rules

The following Tax guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Penalties for breaches of the senior accounting officer (SAO) rules
  • SAO penalties
  • Failure to notify name of SAO—penalty for qualifying company
  • Failure to comply with the main duty—penalty for SAO
  • Failure to provide a timely certificate—penalty for SAO
  • Provision of an incorrect certificate—penalty for SAO
  • Reasonable excuse
  • More than one SAO in a financial year
  • Multiple penalties
  • Assessment of SAO penalties
  • more

The senior accounting officer (SAO) regime was introduced by section 93 of, and schedule 46 to, the Finance Act 2009 (FA 2009) with the aim of ensuring that qualifying companies have adequate tax accounting arrangements in place so that the correct tax liabilities are reported to HMRC. The regime applies to financial years beginning on or after 21 July 2009. The aim of the regime is supported by:

  1. a qualifying company's obligation to notify HMRC of the identity of its SAO or, if there were successive SAOs for the relevant financial year, each individual that was the SAO for any part of that year

  2. the role of the SAO to take reasonable steps to ensure that the qualifying company has appropriate tax accounting arrangements in place

  3. the SAO's obligation to file a certificate for each financial year confirming that the company had appropriate tax accounting arrangements or, where that was not the case, explaining the deficiencies and (although not legally required) often also including what steps are being taken to remedy them, and

  4. HMRC's authority to assess penalties on a qualifying company and/or an SAO for failing to satisfy the SAO rules

This Practice Note discusses the penalties chargeable for failures in relation to the SAO regime. SAO failures should also be considered in the context of the wider penalty framework; for

Related documents: