In Patsy-Anne Saunders v HMRC [2017] TC6173: an appeal against penalties for late filing of a Non-Resident's CGT return upheld on the basis that ignorance of this piece of tax law is a reasonable excuse.

  • The taxpayer was resident in Saudi Arabia.
  • She made a CGT loss on disposal of a UK residence.
  • She failed to report the disposal within 30 days of the conveyance as she had presumed that she should report her disposal on a normal Self Assessment return.
  • HMRC charged her Late filing penalties under paras 3-5 of Schedule 55 FA 2009. Later they cancelled the daily penalties.
  • She appealed on the basis of ignorance of the law: she had made an honest mistake about the filing method and obligation.

Judge Michael Connell ruled that her ignorance of the NRCGT filing requirement was a reasonable excuse. She was in Self Assessment and any person making a capital loss would normally expect to report and pay any CGT under Self Assessment.

This case follows the decision in Rachel McGreevy v HMRC [2017] TC06109 where judge Richard Thomas carefully picked his was through the history of the Non-resident CGT charge for disposals of UK residential property and found that contrary to HMRC's belief the chancellor had not announced the new charge in his autumn statement of 2013 (or 2014 either). Judge Thomas found that he had difficulty finding all the details of the new legislation and as HMRC had failed to notify non-resident property owners about the new legislation, a non-resident would be unaware of the changes.

Comment

  • This case is the second in many appeals against late filing penalies NRCGT regime and there has been mixed opinions from judges about whether ignorance of the new CGT law is a reasonable excuse.
  • Ignorance on a third party i.e. those who did the conveyancing was not claimed in this case.
  • See Non Resident CGT: subscriber guidefor further details of all the other appeal cases on NRCGT and the further development in the interpretation of the law on this particular topic.

Patsy-Anne Saunders v HMRC [2017] TC6173

 

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