My thanks to a loyal reader who pointed me to an article in This Is Money about a woman whose case recently went to a tax tribunal.
On January 10, 2011, HMRC sent her a letter asking her to complete a self assessment form.
She rang HMRC to ask for a form and was sent a paper return, which she completed and sent back.
Now as loyal readers know October is the filing date for paper returns, but not everyone is a loyal reader or tax expert. Needless to say, HMRC fined her £100 for late submission.
When the woman had rung HMRC’s helpline on January 17, no one pointed out to her that a paper submission would elicit a £100 fine.
The woman complained, and HMRC rejected her complaint. However, when it went to the tax tribunal, Judge Geraint Jones QC intervened and overturned the fine.
He rejected HMRC’s argument that responsibility for filing on time lay squarely on the shoulders of the taxpayer, saying:
"That proposition might be acceptable in circumstances where, by its conduct, HMRC has not misled the taxpayer or lulled her in to believing that she has fulfilled the obligations."Quite so!
Tax does have to be taxing.
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