A recent case heard by the Special Commissioners illustrates that the lack of a written receipt for a return delivered by hand might cost you more than you anticipate. You may have to prove the posting to a tribunal.
In Ransom v HMRC SPC708, the taxpayer's adviser delivered an amended tax return by hand to an office of HMRC outside normal hours on the evening of 31 January 2003 (the deadline for making amendments to the taxpayer's self-assessment tax return being 31 January 2003 under s 9ZA TMA 1970).
Security staff at the tax office refused to give a receipt for the return and HMRC argued that the amended return was not delivered by hand but was only sent by a letter received by HMRC after the 31 January 2003 deadline.
After a detailed examination of the evidence, which involved the timely exercise of interviewing both advisers and HMRC, the Special Commissioner held that the amended return had, on the balance of probabilities, been delivered by hand to HMRC by the 31 January deadline. The amended return was accepted.
Commentary The Special Commissioner found that the combination of a slightly over stretched tax advisers and a lack of system controls in HMRC's post-room were a receipe for disaster. Advisers would fare better by filing online, or by filing paper returns during office hours.