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Late appeal – mental health issues

21st Dec 2021
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Yet another PLN (Personal Liability Notice) appeal and application for late appeal. There seem to have been a lot over the past few years. The FTT rejected the taxpayer’s argument that his poor mental health prevented him making an appeal on time.

Reading through the decision however, the Tribunal made some significant comments about the appellant’s mental health, and its relevance to his application. Advisers should note this.

The appellant, Azam Ali, had provided evidence of depression from around 1998. The evidence referred to a series of medical interventions for the subsequent 20 years, covering the time Mr Ali ran his business, a restaurant, and beyond. This evidence was not challenged by HMRC.

The Tribunal carefully reviewed the evidence provided and concluded that the evidence provided did not support his contention that he was incapable of dealing with his tax affairs throughout the period of delay. Mr Ali had telephone conversations with HMRC during the period in question, had contacted Citizen’s Advice and had written to HMRC.


  • Ill health of whatever sort may provide a reasonable excuse for a penalty, or a reason for a late appeal. But it does not automatically do so.
  • Ill-health must be evidenced carefully. Provide a clear time line for HMRC and the Tribunal.
  • And, most importantly, explain how the ill-health prevented the taxpayer meeting his/her tax obligations. And at the relevant times.

This is the Azam Ali decision: 

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