Tribunal confirms reliance on adviser is ‘reasonable excuse’
A recent tribunal decision considered the liability of a taxpayer to a late filing penalty where she blamed her solicitor for the delay.
The penalty had been imposed for the failure to deliver a ‘land transaction return’ on form SDLT1 to HMRC within 30 days of a ‘notifiable transaction’ as required by FA 2003, s 76.
The issue before the First-tier Tribunal was whether or not the taxpayer was exempt from penalties as a result of unsatisfactory tax advice from her solicitor, and whether this therefore constituted ‘reasonable excuse’. The taxpayer bought a flat on 12 August 2009.
This SDLT1 should have been completed and sent to HMRC by 11 September 2009.
The tribunal looked at Rowland (SpC 548) to help it decide whether the taxpayer’s circumstances led to reasonable excuse. It found that reliance on a third party, in this case a solicitor, can be a reasonable excuse, and this had led to the taxpayer’s tardiness in filing the return.
The taxpayer’s appeal was allowed.