Judge Geraint Jones QC has ruled in favour of the taxpayer at a recent first tier tribunal saying HMRC acted in an "unconscionable manner" when dealing with a late Self Assessment filing.
In the case of Kathleen Lomas v HMRC, Lomas was first told she had to complete a tax return in January last year, when HMRC sent her a paper form, which she returned before the 31 January deadline.
HMRC then fined her £100 because paper returns had to be filed by 31 October the year before. The Revenue had not told the taxpayer she should file electronically or that January 31 is the deadline for online returns only.
Jones said: “The fact that HMRC did not return the paper tax return and insist that the appellant must file online leads me inexorably to the conclusion that it did, by its conduct, waive the requirement for the paper return to be filed by October 31, 2010, or for the appellant to file online by January 31.
“She lost the opportunity to file online within time and thus avoid any penalty. It is not for HMRC to act in such an unconscionable manner. It should, as a matter of good conscience and proper administration, it being a public body that should abide by the highest standards of good administration and fairness, have promptly informed the appellant. It did not do so."