In G Nonyane v HMRC [2017] UKFTT TC05577, the First-Tier Tribunal (FTT) found that the discovery assessment issued to a taxpayer claiming not to know about the new High-Income Child Benefit Charge (HICBC) was valid.

  • The taxpayer earned more than £69,000 in the tax year 2013/14.
  • Child benefit in respect of one child was claimed.
  • The taxpayer did not submit a tax return and HMRC did not issue one to her.
  • HMRC issued an assessment for the HICBC.
  • The taxpayer appealed to HMRC and requested a review and HMRC maintained their view and dismissed the reasons for the appeal.

The Taxpayer submitted that HMRC should only be allowed to collect the HICBC from the date that she received notification from HMRC that the law had changed. The taxpayer claimed she was not aware of the change in rules because:

  • No notification was received from HMRC.
  • The taxpayer did not listen to the radio or watch television.
  • Additionally, the taxpayer did not see or hear any of the public advertising and did not visit places where the public billboards were placed.

The taxpayer’s view was that HMRC had an obligation to notify all taxpayers that could be directly affected by the change in law and HMRC’s approach, using television, radio, social media, and public billboards is an inappropriate way of informing people of a change in law.

The FTT agreed with HMRC:

  • The discovery assessment was valid because it assessed income that should have been assessed.
  • The discovery assessment was timely.
  • Ignorance of law cannot be accepted as a reasonable excuse as that would favour those who choose to remain ignorant of the law.
  • The burden is on the taxpayer to check that her tax affairs are dealt with correctly.

The appeal was dismissed.


High-Income Child Benefit Tax Charge

Discovery assessments and time limits

External link

G Nonyane v HMRC [2017] UKFTT TC05577