Accountancy Age reports that HMRC lost a tribunal, brought against them by Philip and Tracey Ithell (who run a construction firm), because HMRC failed to produce evidence that it sent a computer-generated letter to the appellants.
The appellants claimed that they did not receive a letter from HMRC giving them notice that their gross payment status was being cancelled. HMRC had no evidence that the letter had been sent, other than a screenshot of a note that a letter had been sent.
HMRC lost the case because they could not establish with certainty that the appellants had been given notice of cancellation.
The ruling highlights the double standard (ie hypocrisy) in HMRC's "mindset" wrt letters and postal delays.
Send HMRC a payment (or letter advising them of a material change in tax circumstances) which arrives late or is lost, and HMRC will not accept/listen to evidence wrt the delay/loss.
Yet, in this case (with the boot very much on the other foot), they were attempting to argue that because "they knew" and could "prove" (proof which was not accepted by the tribunal as being sufficient) that they had sent the letter it must have arrived at the intended destination on time.
HMRC can't have it both ways!
Tax does have to be taxing.
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