Late appeal – tax case
A recent High Court case examined a late appeal against a tax assessment by the taxpayer. The taxpayer in this case appealed almost 18 months after he was issued with an assessment (an appeal should have been made within 30 days).
The taxpayer had set-up a new business in November 1999 and informed HMRC that he had 18 employees. However the taxpayer had failed to make PAYE and NIC returns or payments. Almost 4 years after the business was established, HMRC issued determinations in respect of the outstanding amounts. The taxpayer did not appeal initially but following receipt of a statutory demand and the start of bankruptcy proceedings an appeal was lodged.
The appeal was refused by HMRC on the grounds that it was out of time and this decision was upheld by the general commissioner. The High Court allowed an appeal on a point of law concerning whether the commissioners had correctly refused the appeal. In dismissing the taxpayer’s appeal the High Court found that the Commissioners had taken into account the necessary underlying circumstances when not allowing the appeal.
The High Court also commented on the public interest in enforcing the statutory time limits for appeal.