NEWS PUBLISHING GROUP Trinity Mirror has successfully appealed against an HMRC penalty for being one day late with a VAT return and payment in 2008.
Trinity Mirror felt the charge was not compliant with EU principle of proportionality and more severe than the gravity of the infringement warranted.
Judge Dr Kameel Khan at the first-tier tax tribunal ruled the surcharge was "disproportionate" and "plainly unfair" after HMRC imposed a £70,900 fine following the late filing and payment, equivalent to 2% of the aggregate value of its defaults.
Khan added there was little evidence to support HMRC's position that dropping the fine would undermine the whole system, allowing large businesses to "pay their VAT late with immunity".
As such, the tribunal dismissed the fine.
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