Revenue rethink

After considerable pressure from the tax representative bodies, such as the Tax Faculty of the ICAEW, the government has tabled amendments to the new rules for charging penalties when taxpayers make errors in their tax returns. The original Sch24 to the Finance Bill 2007 included a multitude of references using the terminology ‘HMRC thinks’.

 
This phrase is relatively new in modern tax drafting and made its first appearance in the draft for a new Taxes Management Act, a project which itself has been temporarily stalled. The concern was that this phrase does not impose the necessary degree of objectivity upon the Revenue and the need for it to act reasonably when considering raising penalty notices on taxpayers. The amendments remove phrase ‘HMRC thinks’ form the schedule, except for one instance where its continued use is favourable to taxpayers.

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