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Attempt to revive zombie assessments fails


A series of mistakes by HMRC could not be corrected by treating dead tax assessments as if they were still valid, in order to collect the tax due, the first tier tribunal finds.

2nd Jul 2021
Tax writer
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The core facts of the bizarre case of Sean Kelly TC08131 were as follows:

  • 2 February 2016: HMRC issues assessments.
  • Taxpayers’ appeals listed at FTT – hearing due March 2017.
  • 24 Feb 2017: HMRC withdraws and vacates the 2016 assessments.
  • 27 Feb 2017: FTT writes to all parties stating the appeal is allowed and the file will be closed.
  • 13 March 2017: HMRC tells taxpayers further assessments will be issued.
  • 15 July 2017: Taxpayers appeal the 2017 assessments.
  • January 2021: HMRC claims 2016 assessments are still valid.

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Replies (2)

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By Justin Bryant
02nd Jul 2021 16:55

This case and also para 64 here suggests the "no two bites the assessment cherry” rule (per CoA Tooth) still survives SC Tooth:

The final sentence of para 92 here is possibly helpful in indicating that a second discovery assessment is available if a previous assessment (c.f. an unactioned discovery) was insufficient, but not otherwise (i.e. if that previous assessment was defective a second corrective discovery assessment is not permitted under the no two bites rule).

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By Springfield
05th Jul 2021 12:52

Another example of HMRC acting without jeopardy on their side. They are clearly shown to have been in the wrong but there is no downside to their actions, so nothing to stop them repeating this type of behaviour again and again.

It's time for Tribunals to start ordering costs and penalties against HMRC when they issue cases without merit, or which are vexatious.

Thanks (4)