In Donald Fitzroy Currie v HMRC [2014] TC 03997 a taxpayer was denied Special relief in respect of his out of time appeal against determinations made by HMRC. The tribunal also established the extent of its powers to decide special relief cases.

The facts

  • The taxpayer did not file his tax returns for 2005/06, 2006/07 and 2007/08 until late in 2012.
  • HMRC had already made determinations of tax due of £10,000 for the first two years and £100,000 for the third year. HMRC however withdrew its determination for 2007/08.
  • The taxpayer was out of time for normal appeal for the other two years and requested Special Relief and this was denied by HMRC.
  • The taxpayer appealed to the First Tier Tribunal(FTT)

For special relief to apply three conditions A to C must be met (see Special relief). Condition A is that “in the opinion of the Commissioners it would be unconscionable for the Commissioners to seek to recover the amount (or to withhold repayment of it if has already been repaid).”

The Tribunal decided that its jurisdiction was limited to deciding whether HMRC’s opinion that Condition A did not apply was unreasonable, in a judicial review sense. However it did also review the evidence presented during the hearing.

Having considered the parties’ submissions, the Tribunal was unimpressed by the taxpayer as a witness; he changed his evidence, he had assets which led it to believe that not all his income was assessed.

Judge Ann Redstone concluded that “we would have had no hesitation in deciding that it was not unconscionable of HMRC to enforce the determination.” The appeal was refused.


In deciding what powers it was given the Tribunal disagreed with the approach taken in the only other case on Special Relief. 


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Donald Fitzroy Currie v HMRC [2014] TC 03997