A business will incur a VAT sucharge is it is late paying its VAT bill. Initially calculated at 2% of the VAT due figure, repeated ‘offences’ will see the surcharge rise in increments up to 15% of the total VAT due figure.

We understand that any business, might on occasion, be late paying its VAT bill.

The cardinal error however is to assume that HMRC waive the surcharge if there is good reason why the payment is late.

The OMNIS rules regarding surcharges:


  1. respond to HMRC with an apology; or
  2. promise never to be late with a payment again; or
  3. tell them it was an employee’s fault; or
  4. tell them you were short of funds; or
  5. tell them you were only late by a day etc.

Sob stories and the like are irrelevant to HMRC. An officer can only remove a default surcharge by reference to the legislation.

To give yourself a chance of reducing or cancelling a surcharge you need to demonstrate that you have a reasonable excuse for the late VAT payment.

That is where OMNIS come in…

We have successfully challenged many default surcharges and penalties. What may seem a lost cause to you may appear entirely defensible to us.

Our VAT and Customs Appeals team are experts. Nigel Gibbon used to be head of the VAT division at Customs’ Solicitor’s Office and Nick Hunt is our expert in relation to Customs’ penalties and surcharges.

Why not call us? For the price of a phone call it is worth exlploring your options.