Unbelievable response from HMRC below...see red text below. Like a taxpayer stating they can't quantify their self-employment income for their tax return because it would take too long. How would HMRC respond to that?
Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA)
Thank you for your request, which was received on 1 December, for the following
“My request was for the total amount of CGT late filing penalties in the specified period and
I'm not sure why you interpreted it as initial penalties only. One would have thought your
accounting system would have an aggregate of these penalties for each tax year and so you
just need to sum 8 figures.”
We can confirm we hold the total number of late filing penalties issued for the Capital Gains
Tax (CGT) on UK property return between 6 April 2015 and 5 April 2023. However, providing
this information would exceed the FOIA cost limit. We have therefore refused your request
under section 12(1) of the FOIA.
Section 12(1) FOIA allows a public authority to refuse to comply with a request for
information if the authority estimates that the cost of compliance would exceed the
‘appropriate limit’, as defined by the Freedom of Information and Data Protection
(Appropriate Limit and Fees) Regulations 2004 (the Regulations). In the case of HMRC this
is £600, or 24 hours charged at £25 per hour.
Regulation 4(3) of the Fees Regulations allows the following activities to be taken into
account when calculating the cost of compliance:
• determining whether the information is held;
• locating the information, or a document which may contain the information;
• retrieving the information, or a document containing it; and
• extracting the information from the document containing it.
While we hold individual-level information on the timing of tax return submissions and any
late returns penalties levied, aggregate level information on all penalties relating to returns
submitted via the system for reporting CGT liable residential property is not readily available.
This is because we hold the information on the timing of returns and any late returns
penalties separately for individual customers. We do not have an existing process for adding
together information on all penalties relating to returns submitted via the system for reporting
CGT liable residential property. The information is not held within a system that would make
adding penalties together quick or straightforward.
We have established that providing this information would exceed the FOIA cost limit due to
the time involved in extracting it from the different data sources, linking this information
together and analysing and summarising to answer your request.
Normally we would explore how you might be able to refine your request so that it did not
exceed the FOIA cost limit. However, in this case, we cannot see any scope for doing so.
If you are not satisfied with our reply, you may request a review within 40 working days of
receiving this letter by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by writing to our
address at the top of this letter.
If you are not content with the outcome of an internal review you can complain to the
Information Commissioner’s Office.
HM Revenue and Customs