AccountingWeb hits the nail on the head in its damning indictment of HMRC's vendetta against Smith & Williamson.
The Supreme Court’s judgement on the Smith & Williamson (EBT) case (2022 UKSC 9) offers disturbing hints of illogical, if not insane, thinking within HMRC.
There is a saying that insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. This is the repeated pattern of HMRC’s appeals in this case:
- May 2017: First-tier tribunal (FTT) hearing, HMRC lost.
- February 2019: HMRC appealed to the Upper Tribunal (UT), and lost.
- March 2020: HMRC appealed to the Court of Appeal (CA) and failed, for the same reasons as it had in the previous hearings.
- February 2022: HMRC appealed to the Supreme Court, and failed again.
The justices of the Supreme Court unanimously agreed with three successive judgements that HMRC’s arguments were simply wrong.
This case has little practical effect, since the 2013 changes mean
that its circumstances cannot recur. Its primary outcome is to highlight
the bloody-minded determination that HMRC so often appears to exhibit
when pushing a weak case in pursuit of a sizeable chunk of tax.
Tax does have to be taxing.
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