In Antony Phillip Brown v HMRC [2016] TC 05423 the First Tier Tribunal (FTT) found that a taxpayer did not have a reasonable excuse for late filing of an SDLT return.

An SDLT form has to be submitted within 30 days of a notifiable transaction (e.g. a purchase of land).

  • The taxpayer bought a house on 7 December 2015.
  • He filed his SDLT return 6 days late and HMRC imposed a £100 flat rate penalty.

The appellant appealed on the grounds that:

  • His solicitor had problems contacting him, and as a result he wasn’t aware of having to file the return until it was already late.
  • It was unfair to expect him to make the payment and file the return so soon after moving house, especially given as this was over the Christmas period.

The FTT rejected the appeal and upheld the penalty:

  • The responsibility for filing the form rested with the taxpayer: he couldn’t rely on the fact that there were communication problems or delays over the Christmas period.
  • The fact that the taxpayer was not familiar with the legislation and deadlines was not a reasonable excuse.
  • The FTT cannot substitute what might be seen as a ‘fair’ decision for that made by HMRC.


Case reference: Antony Phillip Brown v HMRC [2016] TC 05423

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Stamp Duty Land Tax: rates & reliefs