asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he has reached a decision on the question of appeals against value added tax penalties following representations made to him on the enforcement powers of Her Majesty's Customs and Excise.
Yes. In the light of representations made by interested parties and comments from a number of hon. Members I have decided that the appeal arrangements set out in the exposure clauses should be enlarged to provide additional safeguards, as of right, for the tax-payer. The Finance Bill will accordingly provide that, where penalties orsurcharges are to be assessed by the Commissioners of Customs and Excise, it should be a defence for the tax payer, for all matters short of fraud, to demonstrate to the commissioners, or on appeal to the VAT tribunal, that he had exercised all due diligence and had a reasonable excuse for failing to comply with the VAT law in question.