Tribunal – late filed ‘duplicate’ return
A recent case heard by the First-Tier Tribunal concerned an appeal by a taxpayer against a penalty levied by HMRC for the late filing of a partnership return – even though this reflected no taxable income or profits. The taxpayer in this case was a father and son partnership.
The return in question was issued by HMRC on 6th April 2008 and the filing date for that return was the 31st October 2008 for a paper return, or the 31st January 2009 if the return was to be filed on-line. The paper return was ultimately received by HMRC on 28 August 2009, almost one year after the paper return filing deadline. HMRC imposed two automatic fixed penalties for non receipt of the partnership return. These were payable even though no tax was outstanding.
The taxpayer appealed against the penalties and argued that he had filed the partnership return on-time and that the return received by HMRC was in fact a replacement for the original which he claimed to have filed on time. However, based on the evidence before the Tribunal, the Judge commented that the taxpayer ‘can provide not a shred of evidence that that was, in fact, the case’.
The Tribunal Judge said that in this case the onus was firmly on the taxpayer to be able to prove that he had complied with the rules concerning the filing of the partnership return. In the absence of any proof there was no reasonable excuse for the submission of a late partnership return. The taxpayer’s appeal was dismissed. This case is a sad reminder of the need to retain proper evidence of the submission of tax returns.