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Accessible legal tips, know-how and news for anyone with a complaint or legal issue from Stephen Gold, author of The Return of Breaking Law, the book

Wednesday 25 October 2017

Taxpayers Win On Penalties

Two more taxpayers have defeated HM Revenue & Customers over penalties imposed for late tax returns having persuaded the tax tribunal in each case that they had a reasonable excuse. See http://www.breakinglaw.co.uk/search/label/tax%20penalties for what is required to prove you had a reasonable excuse and for previous cases on the topic.

In Robert Morris v Commissioners for HMR&C [2017] UKFTT 0749 (TC)  Mr Morris who had been caned for penalties totalling £2,900 in respect of two separate tax years, had completed those returns for each year and before the deadline. When he had done the same in a previous year, the website had generated a receipt and a long reference number. But for these two later years, no receipt and no reference number appeared. Instead, said Mr Morris, he had each time received an on screen message on a very basic web page saying either "Thank you for your submission" or 'Submission complete'" He treated that as good enough and thought he had done all that was required of him. 

The Revenue's representative at the tribunal could not say that what Mr Morris had claimed was incapable of happening and it put forward no evidence that it was technically impossible or something that was unlikely. The tribunal accepted that Mr Morris was telling the truth and so decided that he had  are reasonable excuse for no returns for those years having apparently been received by the Revenue when he said he had sent them.

And in Roderick Northam v Commissioners for HMR&C [2017] UKFTT 706 (TC) Mr Northam had not been informed by his accountants that, although he had signed his return before the deadline, they were not proposing to submit it in time because they required further information. He had taken reasonable care to ensure that his return was in on time.