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HMRC outlines late-filing penalty notices data breach


Published: 26 Apr 2021 Update History

ICAEW members in practice have been among thousands of agents who have received late-filing penalty notices which are not for their clients. HMRC has investigated and provided an update on what went wrong.

HMRC was made aware of a problem with SA326D £100 late-filing penalty notices for 2019/20 issued on 23 March 2021, when agents reported receiving notices that were not for their clients, usually in the same envelope as a notice correctly received.

HMRC advises that the problem was due to a software issue and the underlying cause is thought to be linked to inadequate testing. HMRC has confirmed that the breach is limited to the SA326D’s bulk run.

The total number of individual penalty notices sent to the wrong agent is 18,496 and 15,459 agents were affected, either by receiving notices they should not have or not receiving notices that were sent to another agent. Two taxpayers also received agent copies relating to other taxpayers.

HMRC has reissued the penalty notices to agents.

Agents are advised to either dispose of incorrectly received notices as confidential waste or to return them to SA326D, Central Mail Unit, S1250, Benton Park View, Longbenton, Newcastle, NE98 1ZZ.

HMRC is conducting an after-action review to understand what went wrong and how it can make sure it doesn’t happen again. The matter has been reported to the Information Commissioner’s Office.

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