Michael Grant v HMRC [2018] TC6599 a six month penalty for late filing of a NRCGT return was upheld. Despite a mistake by the UK adviser and failure by HMRC to consider special circumstances, it was the taxpayer's fault he delayed signing his return and that caused the lateness.

  • The taxpayer lived in Ireland and he sold a property in the UK.
  • He appointed a firm of advisers in the UK for CGT.
  • The advisers were uncertain as to whether a NRCGT return was due.
  • The return was submitted more than six months late.
  • The taxpayer appealed the six month penalty and claimed reliance on an adviser
  • He paid the one month late penalty and did not appeal that. 

FTT considered the structure of the legislation contemplated a situation in which a reasonable excuse might arise after the filing date but not before it so as to avoid liability to a 3 or 6 month filing penalty. It decided it did not: there was no reasonable excuse for the six month delay.

It then looked at special circumstances

The judge noted that:

  • HMRC had failed to consider any so that made HMRC's decision flawed.
  • Looking at reliance on an agent, it seems that the taxpayer has appointed a tax agent for his tax and so had acted with reasonable care in that regard.

The FTT then noted that once the adviser understood the filing requirement it sent the return to client. The return could have then been submitted within six months however client had 'sat on it' and not signed it. The taxpayers own delay caused the six month late penalty.

The appeal was not allowed.


One of those cases where the result seems obvious once you know all the facts. The trouble for both sides is that it is often extremely difficult to 'see the wood for the trees' when there are a mass of different elements to a case and here the taxpayer probably felt highly irritated by the high level of penalties and wanted his day in court.

Links to our practical guides

How to Appeal a Tax Penalty

Penalties: Late filing

Grounds for Appeal: Reasonable Excuse

Non-Resident CGT: UK residential property

The Non-Residents' Tax Toolkit

Non-Resident Landlords Scheme

External link

Michael Grant v HMRC [2018] TC6599