HMRC have been losing a stream of Tribunal decisions where the Tribunal has not been convinced that the necessary statutory document has been issued to the taxpayer. This covers such matter as a notice to file a Tax Return, or certain penalty notices.
Such decisions mean that the Tribunal is not required to consider any ‘reasonable excuse’ argument from the taxpayer. This means the advantage tips away from HMRC.
A HMRC Technical Note last October indicated that legislation will be introduced to ensure that automated decisions are automatically legal. And (para 2.4 of the note) this legislation will apply retrospectively. This will tip the balance back towards HMRC.
I am surprised that VAT provisions are not included (e.g: with respect to Default Surcharges).
For completeness, HMRC have listed the following functions:
The provisions contained in the Taxes Management Act 1970 (TMA 1970) at s8, s8A and s12AA which provide for giving notice to file a return in relation to individuals, trustees and partnerships.
S9ZB TMA1970, which provides for the correction of a personal or trustee’s return by HMRC.
Paragraph 3 Schedule18 Finance Act 1998, which are the provisions for the issue of a notice to file to corporate bodies.
S100 TMA 1970, which contains the provisions for the making of a determination imposing a penalty under any provisions of the Taxes Acts.
Schedule 14 Finance Act 2003, which contains provisions for the determination of penalties in respect of Stamp Duty Land Tax.