HMRC Is Shite

HMRC Is Shite
Dedicated to the taxpayers of Britain, and the employees of Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC), who have to endure the monumental shambles that is HMRC.

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

HMRC's Box Ticking Unlawful

It seems that the requirement by HMRC for people to tick the terms and conditions box of the government gateway, before submitting tax returns, is unlawful.

As per an appeal against a fine levied by HMRC, as summarised by BAILII:

Neil Garrod, the appellant, is a barrister in practice.  He is required to submit VAT returns.  He failed to submit an electronic VAT return by the due date for the VAT quarter 06/12, but did submit it by paper.  This led to correspondence with HMRC but he continued to refuse to make online returns making paper returns instead.  Ultimately HMRC imposed a penalty of £100 on him 16 July 2013 for failure to make an online return in the period 03/13.

Mr Garrod requested a review of the penalty; one was carried out but upheld the issue of the penalty. This appeal is against that review decision dated 6 January 2014.

Mr Garrod is prepared to use the internet to submit his returns online; what he would not do was to submit his return online because he was unable to do so without signing up to the ‘Government Gateway’ which required him (electronically) to tick a box stating that he had read HMRC’s terms and conditions for online filing.

He objected to any terms and conditions being imposed.  He also objected to the quantity of them:  he said they would be burdensome to read.

The appeal was allowed.

For why?

HMRC "seeking to impose the tick the box pre-condition was in these circumstances unlawful.  As the failure to tick the box was the cause of Mr Garrod’s failure to file online, it seems to me that under Winder, Boddington etc, the penalty was not lawfully imposed and must be discharged".

Tax does have to be taxing.

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