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What in statutory terms are formal "decisions" by HMRC ( VAT office)?

I have submitted VAT Returns for over 12 months for a client, using in my view the correct rate for the relevant trade category.  HMRC, upon an inspection of the records, have notified the client orally that the "wrong" trade category has been applied, and followed this up with letters to the client and to myself.  I have responded that I consider that the trade category used by myself is correct ( unsurprisingly, this produces a lower flat rate than that asserted by HMRC).   They have written again to myself, maintaining their stance, and I have responded maintaining my stance.   I have now received a further letter stating condescendingly that they have already told me what rate to apply to the next Return due ( quarter to 31/12/2012).   

 The HMRC letters are written by the lady who inspected the records - the writing style is in my view informal ( "you should use xx% for the Return to 31/12/2012" ; or similar).   The KEY POINT is this : I have read that where HMRC issue a formal "decision", then one can either submit a formal appeal or request a review ( and of course follow this up later with an appeal if the review does not result in HMRC withdrawing their "decision").    The correspondence received does not have the hallmarks of a formal "decision" : my view is thus that unless and until HMRC issue a formal decision, then my client is not obliged to do anything more, and can happily accept MY view of the correct trade category, and authorise my submitting VAT Returns based on the lower rate which I assert is correct.  In this respect, I am certain that any VAT Returns which she submits should be what SHE believes to be correct ( NOT what HMRC tell her is correct - I opine that it would indeed be an offence for her to submit a Return which is based upon a percentage rate which SHE believes to be incorrect, albeit this would show a higher VAT payment due).  For completeness, and I hesitate to introduce this aspect into the question as it does not affect the central issue, this is a case where the trade does NOT fit into any specific trade sector, such that the "other businesses not elsewhere shown"( I paraphrase of course) sector is appropriate.  As the esteemed Neil Warren emphasises, one does NOT apply the "nearest fit" principle so if there is not exact "fit" then the "other businesses not elsewhere shown" MUST be applied.  The VAT guidance booklet, in a section of "Frequently asked questions", asserts that one should use a particular trade sector, even though self-evidently that guidance is palpably incorrect : indeed HMRC have referred me to that guidance booklet, to support their view in the case of my client as referred to above.

To return to the central issue, WHAT CONSTITUTES A FORMAL DECISION by HMRC ?   A Helpline suggests to me that I should write to HMRC to ask whether one or more of the ( in my view) informal HMRC letters should be regarded as a formal decision : a response of "yes" ( or "no, but THIS letter is now the formal decsion") would enable the matter to be formally reviewed, and then appealed if necessary : the DOWNSIDE to that approach would however be that we would lose the advantage of being able to submit Returns, for the time being and potentially for years to come, based on the lower rate which I consider is correct ( albeit HMRC could assert later, in my firm belief wholly improperly for the reason explained above, that such submissions could result in HMRC claiming underpayments - if of course a trader uses a rate with good reason, then HMRC cannot seek "underpayments" - and potentially penalties too).

My albeit rather "high-risk" intended strategy is to "sit tight" as HMRC have not stated that their views constitute a formal decision, but of course I look forward to receiving contrary views from respondents to this rather lengthy ( of necessity) question.   



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Seek a review

I think you are indeed taking a high risk.  You do have an appealable decision since HMRC have written to you in respect of the appropriate percentage to be used under the scheme.  The danger of ignoring the HMRC decision is that you leave your client open to a subsequent assessment.  You should seek an independent review since that will flush out the matter as to whether you are dealing with an officer acting on a frolic of her own.

The Tribunal's jurisdiction is fairly limited with these decisions since the tribunal must NOT allow the appeal unless it considers that HMRC could not reasonably have been satisfied that there were grounds for the decision.

Malcolm McFarlin

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I agree with Malcolm.  This may all get very messy for you and the client.

I would ask for a reconsideration by another officer, but you need to give good reasons why their decision is wrong.  Another potential approach, if you think you have a good case, is to arrange to meet or talk with the officer as often correspondence can get heated.

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Thanks to Malcolm and The VAT Doctor for their responses.  However, as ever we must look at the legislation, and I feel that, with respect of course, neither reply addresses the central question of what constitutes a formal decision under the legislation.  There must clearly be legislation which states to the effect of "when HMRC issue a formal decision, the time limit for submitting an appeal is 30 days from the date of issue of such formal decision unless the taxpayer requests a review of such formal decision within 30 days" ( or similar).    If I could see such legislation I could then trace it back to a prior paragraph in  which defines what constitutes a formal decision.    Perhaps other potential respondents can assist please.   

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Playing with fire

If I were you, I would treat the opinion given as a formal decision by HMRC and react accordingly. I would also consider notifying your PI firm if you have not already done so especially if you pursue this course.

The Flat Rate Scheme has holes in it you could drive a bus through (if indeed it is a bus depending on the number of seats etc). Personally, I rarely get a client's business to fit in the listed trade sectors and use "Other" more often than not.




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With the greatest of respect, Roland 195, there is absolutely no justification whatever for the reference to the PI aspect, and I can only assume that you have misunderstood the facts in my original enquiry.   I made no reference to HMRC claiming that the initial choice of trade sector was anything other than "reasonable", nor indeed have they made such contention ; and they have simply indicated their view of the correct trade sector for future Returns.  Perhaps you would kindly indicate specifically what aspect of my work thus far could possibly warrant my approaching my PI insurers ( I have an unblemished record in relation to PI for over 40 years and take exception to your comments ).       

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The letter written by the officer is on behalf of the Commissioners of HMRC and as such is a formal decision which as Malcolm points out is appealable. If we were to assume that all correspondence from HMRC was 'informal' unless we were instructed otherwise the tax system would fall under a pile of correspondence and hearings over whether a decision was informal or formal.

If the decision is on HMRC letterheaded paper and signed by an office on behalf of the Commissioners it is formal.

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The legislation

Here goes - under the VAT Regulations 1995, statutory instrument 1995/2518 section 55(B) 3 'The Commissioners may refuse to authorise a person if they consider it is necessary for the protection of the revenue that he is not authorised'

The officer is using this statutory power to force a change in the FRS percentage being used by your client. I wouldn't try to 'Google' this section of the law as you may not find it since even the internet is not always up to date when it comes to HMRC legislation! You will need a copy of the Act and Regulations.


Malcolm McFarlin


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Thank you Mr. McFarlin.  I

Thank you Mr. McFarlin.  I have been trying ( thus far sadly in vain) to obtain advices from fellow contributors as to what constitutes a formal decision.   Might I throw into the mix the fact that I have experience of other cases where HMRC have rightly drawn the attention of the client/trader to the right to request a review and/or the right to an appeal - clearly, in those other cases HMRC themselves regard their letter as constituting a formal decision, and hence they include what are clearly "stock sentences" which they are clearly OBLIGED BY LAW  to supply to the traders to inform them of their aforementioned rights.    Such "stock sentences" are ( significantly in my view) absent from the correspondence in the case referred to in my initial question, and it is that "absence of formality" which persuades me that, at the very least, the correspondence probably does not comply with the legislation ( ie does not constitute a formal decision). 

With respect to you, however , I think your reference to S.55(B)3, whilst an interesting observation, is simply incorrect.  There is nothing whatever in the correspondence which expressly or impliedly indicates that HMRC  are using S55(B) to "force a change in the FRS percentage".   Whilst I cannot dismiss the possibility that they might consider the use of such legislation in the future ( albeit remote), there is to reaffirm nothing which suggests that they are ALREADY doing so.   

So thank you again Mr. McFarlin, as you clearly fully understand that as ever it is the LEGISLATION which determines everything.  As a first-time contributor to this forum, I was hoping that I would be advised of the relevant legislation - if you or any other contributors can point out to me the legislation ( to reaffirm what LEGALLY constitutes a formal decision - taking the line adopted by previous contributors one could interpret an oral request at a routine visit by an officer of HMRC as a formal decision, when clearly this is not the case) then I would be enormously grateful.   If I still draw a blank in this regard, I shall revert to the "tried and tested", ie researching the legislation myself and/or one of the several helplines.        


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I do not doubt your initial advice was both professional & competent and certainly did not mean to suggest otherwise however your proposed course of action seems especially risky (which you acknowlege yourself) therefore it seems sensible to make your PI providers aware of this.

I am also not suggesting that you simply roll over and accept what HMRC have decided. 



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If you would kindly refer to your original response, you will find that your attempted censure referred to not only future possible actions on my part, but past actions - in that respect it was wholly invalid, and unacceptable.     You overlook the fact that there are risks inherent in both taking the action which I initially proposed and not taking that same action( I trust that it is unnecessary to expand thereupon).    Given that I would of course keep the client fully informed and take further advice (there was nothing in my initial enquiry which expressly ir impliedly indicated otherwise - indeed part of the purpose of the enquiry was to obtain different views), the reference to notifying my insurers in respect of future actions is as invalid as the reference to past actions.   I am sorry, Roland 195, but on this occasion you are 100 percent out of order, but thank you for your contribution anyway.

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It seems to me as if you are using this thread to try and justify a delay in (possibly) changing the VAT rate used by your client.

As you quote in your original post..." I should write to HMRC to ask whether one or more of the ( in my view) informal HMRC letters should be regarded as a formal decision : a response of "yes" ( or "no, but THIS letter is now the formal decsion") would enable the matter to be formally reviewed, and then appealed if necessary : the DOWNSIDE to that approach would however be that we would lose the advantage of being able to submit Returns, for the time being and potentially for years to come, based on the lower rate which I consider is correct ( albeit HMRC could assert later, in my firm belief wholly improperly for the reason explained above, that such submissions could result in HMRC claiming underpayments - if of course a trader uses a rate with good reason, then HMRC cannot seek "underpayments" - and potentially penalties too)."

If you want a formal decision then ask for one or appeal the letter you have received which if it is not a formal decision will be advised to you.

In the mean time you are causing your client uncertainty due to wanting to prove you are correct and this could cause them to be taken to task for you wanting to prove a point.

Who is paying for your time to sort this out. If it is the client then you appear to be costing them money to prove how clever you are. If it is you on your own time then I would have thought that this month you had better things to do with your time!




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Mr. Lever,

Disregarding the closing unnecessary and distasteful attempted censure ( the CORRECT position is that the initial urgency arises from the necessity to submit a CORRECT VAT Return for the quarter to 31 December 2012),  your implied assumption that I am seeking to inappropriately justify a delay in CHANGING the trade sector, and thereby the rate, is also INCORRECT ( I remain sure that the trade sector, and thus the rate applied thus far, have been correct).     

I was hoping for a response which would, as mentioned previously, direct me to the LEGISLATION in relation to what constitutes a formal decision, thus far without success.

It is not a question of my "wanting to prove a point" - you miss the mark in that further unnecessary incorrect comment, and I suggest that you read again my initial post, and indeed the extract which you quote from it - if you would relate that extract to my correcting you as above, perhaps you will better understand (i) the dilemma ; (ii) my motives and (iii) why your post is so wide of the mark.  

Obviously CERTAINTY can be obtained by forcing the issue, either by asking HMRC to provide a formal decision or by asking them to confirm that their letters thus far are to be regarded as a formal decision in themselves ( albeit the lack of formality which one would normally expect is absent therefrom).   The advantage of such approach is indeed the CERTAINTY - the DISADVANTAGE of that approach is that if one is entitled to submit Returns using a flat rate which one believes reasonably to be correct, then one denies the client the possibility of a saving  in VAT for potentially a considerable period ( and thus potentially lays oneself open to not acting in the client's interests by corresponding unnecessarily with HMRC trying to effect certainty).   With respect of course, it is implicit in your post, Mr. Lever, that this dilemma has not been understood by you ( nor, to be fair, by some of the other respondents) - but PLEASE do not reply to THIS post by including acerbic and unwarranted comments such as contained in your last post.

I reaffirm that "legislation is everything"( as in nearly all questions of this nature), and I remain eager to receive, from yourself and other respondents, specific references to the legislation as to what constitutes a FORMAL DECISION - it MUST be there in the VAT legislation somewhere !   


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More legislation

Under the VAT Act 1994 S26B(9) Regulation (b)

Regulations under this section-

'may make such incidental, supplemental, consequential or transitional provision as the Commissioners think fit, including provision disapplying or applying with modifications any provision contained in or made under this Act'.

I would think the officer is applying his or her power under this section of the Act which relates to the FRS.

Malcolm McFarlin

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With respect again, Mr, McFarlin, you are again introducing conjecture inappropriately.   There is no more evidence to support your new theory than there was with your last theory.    Neither theory is supported by the correspondence received from HMRC.     In both cases there is at least an ethical obligation, and probably a statutory one, to indicate  the  legislation being relied upon - the kernel of my original enquiry seems to elude all respondents thus far, albeit I am grateful for all comments. 

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O.K. Lets see what we can do...

The legislative basis is probably more a deductive than an explicit statement, there seems to be no legislative definition of a formal decision. However there is legislative provision of what a formal decision should include, and therefore we can assume anything without the legislative 'hallmarks' of a formal decision is therefore not a formal decision. (So we don't know what it is, but we know what it isn't!)

Anyway S83 of the VAT Act defines those matters which can be appealed; 83 (fza) includes a "decision by the commissioners...(ii) as to the appropriate percentage or percentages [of Section 26B]". 26B is the enabling basis of regulations 55A to 55V the Flat Rate Scheme.

So we know it's an appealable matter, when a decision is given.

S83A says the following (my highlights) "(1) HMRC must offer a person (P) a review of a decision that has been notified to P if an appeal lies under section 83 in respect of the decision"

It then goes on to say that "(2) The offer of the review must be made by notice given to P at the same time as the decision is notified to P."

So since legislation says the matter lies under the aegis of S83 an offer of a review must be included with the notification of a decision. If you have not received an offer of a review then you have not formally received a decision. It may be the case that a decision has been made but it doesn't appear to have been notified properly.

So my suggestion would be that if you really are set on using the current percentage and want to argue the point (I don't know why I put that in as clearly you do), that you submit the return as you see fit whilst writing to inform HMRC that you have included the 'appropriate' percentage, as you do not agree with their reasoning in correspondence, and have not been issued with a formal notice requiring the alternative percentage, using the reasoning above. I will admit however that I would probably be treating the original letter as notification of their decision, whilst pointing out that they haven't properly complied with their legislative burdens.

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Hang on Basil

Malcolm is a well respected contributor on this forum with a history of knowing his tax law. You are a first time poster (?) asking for justification of a position.

I know of no ethical or statutory obligation for HMRC to always quote the detail of the legislation being relied upon in the first instance. As far as I am aware HMRC always believe that are working within the powers given to them by the various taxes acts, that is what they do for a living! They do not always state their authorities until asked and often when we ask we discover that their internal guidance (which is what most of the front line people rely upon) does not fully reflect  the legislation.

Your helpline seems to have given you the right answer. You want to know if HMRC consider that they have given you a formal decision? Then ask them!

I can see that several posters on this thread are perhaps a little more stressed then usual!

Happy Tax Returns everyone.

Chris Smail

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Thank you for your tirade

Well Basil (real name hidden for some reason) I would like ot thank you for your tirade.

It is clear that your dilema is which tax rate to use. After a visit you have been asked to use a different rate of VAT on the flat rate scheme than the one you think should be used. You do not want to use the advised rate as it is detremental to your client.

You feel that unless you have a "FORMAL" decision from HMRC you can continue to use the "better" (original) rate for your client.

What you are quibliling about is what is a formal decision.

A simple Google search would have lead you to the HMRC fact sheet "HM Revenue & Customs decisions– what to do if you disagree".

In this fact sheet it clearly states - "When we make a decision you can appeal against, we will write and tell you. We will also explain how we arrived at the decision and tell you about your appeal rights."

Therefore if the letter you recived tells you you can appeal then it is a formal decision. If it does not then it is not a formal decision.


The link to the factsheet is here

What I was trying to get over to you is that despite being given good advice by respected posters you were pushing the point and your posts were aggressive. If you want help then that surely is not the way to proceed.

It is now up to you, having been pointed in the right direction, to advise your client what you consider the best way forward is.

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Let me respond to the last three posts ( all today). Having only just read those  posts a few minutes ago, I am typing this post at around 9pm, having had to research the matter myself in the last couple of days, in the absence of ( with every respect to previous contributors) any substantive reply to my central issue question of what constitutes a formal decision ( with respect again, fellow contributors, the question was in the very HEADING to the question !).  Before raising the question I had already formed my own opinions, and was disappointed that all responses skirted round the question instead of answering it !

In different ways, the three posts today  confirm my views.

Mr. Lever, whilst spidersong, myself and many others prefer anonymity, and respecting your choice to the contrary, it ill behoves you to refer to a "tirade" - proof of the legitimacy of my frustration at the ( albeit well-meaning)  lack of focus of your earlier response is provided by the contributions today, including your own. Whether your post today has been prompted by  your reading of the earlier post today of spidersong ,  you have NOW "nailed it" in your sentence commencing "Therefore" - I already hold the factsheet to which you refer, and you are indeed quite correct in your comment that this effectively provides the answer to my question.  As ever doubting my own judgment, I had intentionally posed the original question on a neutral basis, in case there was out there some contrary viewpoint  or evidence - but Mr.Lever, most definitely, "quibliling(sic) it is NOT.  You have confirmed my views, Mr. Lever, which is the most important matter, and perhaps if you are good enough  to respond to my posts in future, you would kindly keep to normal courtesies.


Mr. Smail, the facts that (1)I am a "first time poster" and that(2) Mr. McFarlin has a profound knowledge of tax law are BOTH not relevant. At the risk of apparent conceit, I have been in the profession for over 40 years and provided VAT advice since VAT was introduced.  Mr. McFarlin's views did not provide any guidance at all in relation to my question, and introduced two hypotheses as though they were facts - I am perfectly happy for any person to question my judgment, and I shall be happy likewise to defend it ( I do not expect my views to be accepted just because of my experience, and no doubt Mr. McFarlin holds similar principles - your defending him purely beacuse of his own experience and knowledge lacks judgment, Mr. Smail).  

More substantively, your view that I should ask HMRC whether their letters represent a formal decision is simply wrong.  If their correspondence  doesn't comply with the requirements ( Mr. Lever's post today gives you the link to the relevant factsheet) then it is NOT a formal decision -   if the HMRC officer looks at his office wall and says that it is an elephant then by your implied  reasoning it becomes an elephant - sorry for the flippancy but the point is a SERIOUS and entirely VALID one.   Again please refer to the factsheet, and also spidersong's excellent post today ( except for the last sentence - see below !)  which I assume you did not read when making your contribution, for which I thank you.


And finally, spidersong, many thanks.  As mentioned in my above comments to Mr. Lever, I had already come to the  exact same conclusion as you have, and indeed these accorded with my own thoughts right at the outset when the HMRC letters were received.   I had not got as far as nailing the actual specific legislation, which clearly you have by your reference to S.83, so many thanks for that.  I would only however take issue with you  ( and importantly so) with your last sentence ; and respectfully suggest that ( please see my "elephant and wall test" as above) you should not interpret a letter as something which it is not ( very dangerous territory).   With that caveat,  many thanks.


You three contributors today have served to reinforce my resolve, and confirmed my own views ( albeit I have misgivings, in different degrees, about their content ).  Thanks again.

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Yes will I am with spidersongs last sentence

And thank you Spidersong for doing the chapter and verse bit as concerns S83.

I would anticipate the HMRC probably think that they have given you a decision , whilst failing to properly complied with their legislative burdens. However with out asking them, or possibly employing a clairvoyant, it remains impossible to know what they think they have done.

I do however agree with you that HMRC have not formally said 'This is a decision and this is how you appeal'. If it were a my own return I would follow your 'high risk' strategy, if only for the pure fun of it, however is your client happy with this approach?

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Mr. Smail, 

Mr. Smail, 

I am unsure what your post HEADING of "Yes will I am with spidersongs last sentence" is intended to mean ( is this a puzzle for me to rearrange the words into the right order to find out what it means ?! - sorry, Mr. Smail - no offence !).   Perhaps you mean you agree with me that his last sentence spoiled an otherwise excellent contribution, in which case you are right - BUT perhaps to the contrary you disagree with me, in which case you are wrong (but without your reasoning I cannot explain where you have gone awry).    

I am so pleased that you now accept my views overall - with respect, an acknowledgement that you have changed your mind would have been accepted in the right spirit - we all make occasional errors of judgement, especially in a somewhat difficult field in which we have not had the time, as I have had, to research the matter in detail.    In similar vein, now that you know that I am not a callow young graduate trying to impress my theoretical knowledge on you, a withdrawal of the "first time poster" would similarly have been received appropriately.    Into the same category falls your previously extolling the virtues of Mr. McFarlin - I am sure that he has a  much greater knowledge than I ( or even conceivably you) of swathes of legislation, which perhaps he can recite in his sleep, but one must be able to RELATE the knowledge of the legislation to the circumstances and also establish whether it is relevant - his views were so fundamentally flawed, in making wild assumptions of what HMRC had been playing at and/or would play at in the future, that I was fully entitled to question his judgement.  I suspect that you had not considered his remarks in detail at all, but just assumed that with his profound knowledge, his judgement must also have been sound -  sorry if I appear over-sensitive, but at the risk of apparent sanctimony, I feel that you could have withdrawn your remarks.   

As regards the client, one has to take a balanced judgement of several variables - in that context, and whilst I am even more convinced ( with now the full support of you kind contributors) that I would be fully justified in playing the "high risk" card, the downside of HMRC seeking vengeance and pretending that they think they are right ( a recent feature of many recent cases lost by them at Tribunal) persuaded me that I should adopt a different approach which will, shall we say, force the issue much sooner.     

Overall, after being very disappointed with the initial responses to my question, it is now clear that spidersong, Mr. Lever and your goodself are all acknowledging that my views have been 100 percent valid from the outset - whether that has been despite my intentionally confrontational( albeit fully justified) writing style or despite it ( I suspect the former) I shall never know. 

So a somewhat qualified "thank you very much for your support" is in order, Mr. Smail.





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The answer is Sybil - sorry, Simple

FA2008 s124, esp subs (11).

It would be normal to expect the Officer to offer a Review having made her decision (in fact, as menitoned above, it is a requirement, but I don't think that changes the fact that the Officer has made a decision in the context of s124. I therefore agree with the very first response on the thread (and indeed those that followed).

The fact that proper procedure may not have been followed (in that a Review was not offered) in notifying you of the decision, makes it, IMO, a high-risk approach to disregard it. As others have said, you need to advise your client accordingly, and find out if they're willing to accept that risk. It is not your decision to make.

I suggest that you follow the advice of those above, who have proved themselves over and over to know what they're talking about, rather than arguing for argument's sake (and so potentially jeopardising your client's position and making a discussion between you and your PI insurers more likely).


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Do the petty boogie :)

"whether that has been despite my intentionally confrontational( albeit fully justified) writing style or despite it ( I suspect the former) I shall never know"

When your opening sentence is a petty criticism of somebody else's spelling/grammar then you need to be especially careful in the rest of your post not to open yourself up to the same level of pedantry.

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This sentence

" I will admit however that I would probably be treating the original letter as notification of their decision, whilst pointing out that they haven't properly complied with their legislative burdens."

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(1) @ BKD.  If you would

(1) @ BKD.  If you would kindly read my last post more carefully, you will find that your advice ( disregarding your condescending and well-known writing style) has absolutely no relevance whatsoever - I  ultimately achieved majority support of my views in this thread, and acted on behalf of the client as I had intended all along, having established the dissenting views (of which yours was a valuable one, albeit besmirched as explained above).   Thank you also for the new legislation reference, which I shall look into when I have more time, to see whether it is relevant.    If I could ask you to kindly try to express your views in less antagonistic style, if you are good enough to contribute to future debate on this site in which I participate, then this would be much appreciated.

(2) @ nwngiol.  Oh dear, in my haste I have ( self-evidently) mis-typed my thoughts.  My opening sentence however was, even more self-evidently, a very lighthearted introduction, and I even apologised for any offence.    Please do NOT contribute to future posts from myself if these remain your priorities.   "pedantry" ? ; "pedantry" ?! - "pedantry" ??!! - "over and out" from novice kettle to renowned pot. 

(3) @ Mr. Smail.  I regret that your quoting from a previous post ( I seem to recall it, but from whom I do not remember) without explaining its relevance, makes it difficult for me to respond. If you, or another contributor, indeed previously made such comment, then if I decided to respond to it, I think that I would have respectfully pointed out that it was inherently incongruous, as indeed it clearly is.  Repeating it, without especially without explanation, compounds the felony.

After nearly four days peace and quiet, three London buses in one session ! 



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Writing style

fawltybasil2575 wrote:

 If I could ask you to kindly try to express your views in less antagonistic style, if you are good enough to contribute to future debate on this site in which I participate, then this would be much appreciated.

 If I could ask you to kindly try to express your views in less arrogant style, if you are good enough to contribute to future debate on this site in which most have participated for considerably longer than a week or so, then this would be much appreciated.

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Don't you have tax returns to do?

As I sit taking a break from my tax returns I sincerely regret having read this whole thread.

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I have never been so insulted! I don't have to come here to be insulted, I can go elsewhere. BOOM BOOM.

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A fate worse than death ... my curiosity is aroused now

(1) @ BKD.  If you would kindly read my last post more carefully, you will find that your advice ( disregarding your condescending and well-known writing style). (my emphasis)

Rather an odd comment for a new member to make! 

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Inter-personal skills

BKD, mwingiol and Chris Smail. Three of the best AWeb contributors fallen out with in one go. Wow!

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Wow indeed!

As flattered as I am to be mentioned in such company and in such terms, I must point out that I'm not even a good contributor, let alone one of the best! But I thank you all the same :)

And Mr Fawlty, I think the heading of my post was indicative of a certain lightheartedness of my own. I apologise if my petty boogie caused offence.

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(1) @ cparker87.  My

(1) @ cparker87.  My apologies for any part played in your regret.

(2) @ nwngiol. Your apology is accepted of course.

(3) @ ShirleyM. "Well-known" over an albeit brief period ( BKD is a frequent contributor as you no doubt know).   His/her idiosyncratic writing style has been a feature of my reading - "well-known" is apt, but I respect your opinion to the contrary. In another thread he/she has resorted to abuse.

(4) @ BKD. Succinct - not valid but succinct nevertheless.

(5) @ tomtrainer. Noted.

(6) @ Red Leader.  Well done.

Thanks all.


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I know I shouldn't but...

fawltybasil2575 wrote:

Overall, after being very disappointed with the initial responses to my question, it is now clear that spidersong, Mr. Lever and your goodself are all acknowledging that my views have been 100 percent valid from the outset 

 and so the validity of your viewpoint has


persuaded me that I should adopt a different approach

I'm not sure that when I've become convinced that I'm 100% right I'd immediately change my mind too, but that is your prerogative.


whether that has been despite my intentionally confrontational( albeit fully justified) writing style or despite it ( I suspect the former) I shall never know.

Ah, I understand (apart from the tautology) your confrontational style is fully justified, but others should


express your views in less antagonistic style

That seems perfectly fair, quite understandable really.

By the way, will you let us in on the secrets of this different approach which will force the issue sooner, I assume it's not going to be asking HMRC if they think they've made a decision, or asking them to confirm their decision, is it?



I  ultimately achieved majority support of my views in this thread

if you read the responses I think you'll find little support for your main view, you have agreement that HMRC have not complied with their statutory duties in communicating their decision, but you seem to be the only person on the thread content to disregard what everyone else views as the fact that HMRC have nonetheless made a decision.

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@spidersong.   I must disappoint you, especially after all the trouble you have put into reading all my posts, analysing my comments and then extracting some of those comments, and seeking to juxtapose them to somehow establish a self-contradiction and/or prove your points .  You fail on all counts. 

Most importantly your conclusion holds no water at all - just read the posts again, please.

Your endeavours led you to the conclusion that, in the context of the thread, "confrontational" and "antagonistic" are synonymous - there is an important distinction between the two epithets ( self-evident if you consider the equivalent verbs).  I hope you now can understand the distinction.

As for the sarcasm( "asking HMRC if ..." refers) , your purported  assumption is indeed correct , so that disproves that sarcastic comment.

There is NO inconsistency between my point being proven and a change of "approach"( which you seek to interpret as a change of mind as regards my interpreting the nature of the HMRC correspondence)- absolutely not so.  The change of "approach" was one of timing only ( on your logic if I consider an "approach" to (say) a city by one of two similar routes, and then decide a slightly better choice would be using the other route, then I would have decided not to go to the city at all ( ie to quote you, "changed my mind " about going there) - more misplaced sarcasm - I shall try hard not to respond in similar vein and keep to simply correcting you.

To return to the crux of the matter you conclude that I am alone in deciding that HMRC have NOT " made a decision" ( ie NOT made a FORMAL DECISION in the context of the question).  Please just read paragraph 7 of Mr. Lever's post of 23 Jan and the last paragraph of Mr. Smail's post of 24 Jan.     Hoist by your own petard.   Less heat, please, spidersong, and more light ( and READ the substantive parts of posts instead of resorting to banalities).    Thank you.

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Even more words ...

... and even less said.

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@BKD. Unacceptable.

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Time for me to settle down in my armchair

with a cup of tea and enjoy watching the "Who is going to have the last word" war.  :-)

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BKD is my friend, and so are all the other regular contributers on AWeb. We help each other.

I thought (given your name) that you would have a sense of humour. Sadly, your humour is the sort that gets it's laughs from trying to belittle other people.

Anyway, the sky is brightening, I've finished the tax returns, and I've got a day off to enjoy the milder weather :)

(I am sure you will have some proof from somewhere that I have said something that is wrong and will berate me for it at great length in typical lecture fashion!)

Have fun :)

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At least 5 people would seem to think otherwise. Make that 6.

But I suppose we should be grateful for small mercies - at least with the brevity of your last post we were spared the usual incoherent drivel.

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@ Shirley M.  No intention to

@ Shirley M.  No intention to berate you at all. My sense of humour, albeit somewhat dry, is one of my very few attributes.  I think the "friends" factor has played an unfortunate part in the correspondence.   Please enjoy your day off.  Thank you.

@BKD. An opinion to which you are entitled.

@Paul Wakefield.  Nice one, Mr. Wakefield.  At long last, a sense of humour  from a contributor.  Enjoy your cuppa.  

Can one do online filing of SATRs on one of those damned "tripod" thingies  !?! ?



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@Basil Faulty

All I can say is I'm glad I don't have to live with you or indeed work with you!!! Talk about argumentative!!!

Also, please, please for the sake of every reader of your posts; don't simply use 30 words where 5 will suffice! I understand you do this in an attempt to appear 'intelligent' and/or 'powerful' but it makes for tired eyes to say the least! (With the greatest of respect)

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"All I can say "

@ Yawning Mancunian.  All I can say is that a contributor who commences his post with "All can say is" should fell embarrassed by his maladroit contention of verbosity.  Sorry, YM, - can't really dispute your "argumentative" claim, otherwise you would . . . . . .  !   What you claim to "understand" is sadly incorrect.  Try Optrex.  Kind regards.

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... The PM's I've received regarding my above post, I can happily conclude that the only person who is embarrassing themselves here is indeed yourself.

Sadly, I fear it's fellow practitioners such as yourself who continue to feed into the (mostly inaccurate) theory that all accountants are boring and dull.

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