An officer and an automaton

Keith Gordon looks at HMRC’s appeal in two cases where the First-tier Tribunal held that HMRC had failed to prove that an officer had issued a notice to file a tax return

Over the past few years, doubts have been raised about whether the Taxes Management Act (TMA) 1970 has kept up with HMRC’s practices. In particular, the provisions that require an officer to carry out a particular routine function have, increasingly, been automated. HMRC’s first public defeat on this matter came in the case of Khan Properties Ltd [2017] UKFTT 830 (TC), involving penalties under TMA 1970 s 100 (although I had previously had a string of successes in similar cases when HMRC suddenly decided to withdraw the penalties prior to the case reaching a tribunal).