You are correct your colleague cannot sue in respect of the actual tax paid because that in lawfully due to the revenue in any event. However not only does the accountant have a duty in tort, i.e. there is a duty of care and he breached it but there is also a contractual duty. It is an implied term of the contract between your colleague and the accountannt that the accounts will be prepared with reasonable care and skill and he failed in that duty. As such the penalty and any costs directly flowing from the breach of contract and failure in tort are recoverable.
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The interest should be recoverable since it would not have been payable had the accountant got it right in the first place. Your colleague should follow the pre action protocol as the court may take a dim view of him failing to and if he wins he is entitled to his legal costs. The costs granted in the small claims section of the County Court are minimal as the small claims procedure is meant to be used without lawyers
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