I have been continuing my review of FTT decisions on penalties this week. That vexed question of whether ignorance of the law can ever be a reasonable excuse for a filing failure crops up time and time again in appeals against late filing penalties for the newly infamous Non-resident CGT return. 

I confess that I have had a bit a change of heart. I initially had some sympathy with non-residents for failing to notice a change in our tax law but now, thinking about what I would do if I was reporting capital tax in a foreign country, I would always take advice. I do not think that is unreasonable to expect non-residents to appoint a tax adviser to look after their UK tax affairs for the key reason that if you do not appoint a tax adviser then you are saying, 'I can do this myself, and therefore I will take all reasonable steps to stay up to date with UK tax'. That means that you either subscribe to a service like this(!) or you dutifully go online and read HMRC's 'What's New' each day, read the new Finance Act material each year and also follow case law as it evolves. 

Conversely, the Self Assessment system seems to entice people into 'DIY' and if HMRC does wish people to self file then HMRC have to also ensure that there is some way of ensuring that DIY taxpayers stay up to date with changes affecting their particular area of tax. No one will trust an email that claims to come from HMRC. Apparently only about 8% of taxpayers have ever managed to access their Personal Tax Account. What can be done? Well. This is where communication is important. If you do DIY you need to know how to stay up to date, and that is still your prerogative, not HMRC's. If I was a non tax expert I would honestly be lost, there is so much information out there. So, the answer is; subscribe to this service, if you can find it, but otherwise, well, otherwise, why not appoint a UK tax adviser?

This takes us to Making VAT Digital (MVD). As far as I can see, if you do not have a tax agent assisting you with your VAT you probably have no idea what might happen in April 2019. HMRC have not sent out anything to any VAT registered business yet. 

We look at a few more bite sized morsels of the draft Finance Bill 2019, cars.

If you have any tax queries please do try out our Virtual Tax Partner support portal at www.VtaxP.co.uk: subscribers you are entitled to free quick queries so do ask. If you are interested in the job vacancies give me a call, email, Skype or message on Linkedin.

Enjoy the guides and updates and the news is below. 

Back soon

Nichola Ross Martin FCA CTA (Fellow) Tax Director


Your Virtual Tax Partner®: online PRACTICAL support for accountants & tax advisers BY accountants & tax advisers

Quick news (freeview)

Car benefits:draft legislation
Finance Bill 2019 includes proposals which exempt the provision of electric charging facilities for employees with electric cars and corrects errors on the optional remuneration calculation for company cars.

Emergency vehicle benefit in kind exemption: draft legislation
Finance Bill 2019 includes proposals which extend the provision of emergency vehicles for private use by employees to cover all commuting journeys as well as allow for transitional reductions to the benefit in kind for three years.

Come and work with us!
We have flexible job vacancies in direct tax this is for SMEs and Private Client and indirect tax (VAT and SDLT) for full/part-time and home-based tax professionals. If you are within commuting distance of Bridport, Dorset DT6 we also have an in-house vacancy for a tax manager.

Editor's Choice (subscribers)  

Entrepreneurs' Relief
CGT relief on qualifying business disposals, inc. the disposal of a business or an interest in a business, disposal of assets used in a business, shares in your business, a partnership asset. This guide also covers investors relief.

Topical SEIS and EIS FAQs:

Tax Guides and Updates (subscribers) 

Advisory fuel rates (company car drivers)
UPDATE: for rates from 1 September including new rate for all electric cars.

How to avoid paying top rate tax
UPDATE: we have added a new section for landlords.

Directors Loan accounts: toolkit
UPDATE: For what happens to overdrawn loan accounts on death.

LBTT: Additional dwelling Supplement
UPDATE: Scottish couples who have paid this supplement because their previous residence was not in joint ownership can now make a repayment claim, and our guide now shows how to do this.

Case Update (freeview)

Relief for self-builders on sale of private residence
In Mr George McHugh and Mrs Mary McHugh v HMRC [2018] TC06605 the First Tier Tribunal granted private residence relief for part of the three period when a house was being built; ESC D49 applied and the homeowners could claim 24 month’s worth of relief.

Late filing penalties: Non-resident CGT returns
In Ian Smith v HMRC [2018] TC6622 a taxpayer successfully appealed penalties for late filing of a NRCGT return, his ignorance of the law was a reasonable excuse, although the judge thought that relying on a conveyancer lawyer to advise him on tax would not have been.

Late filing penalties: Non-resident CGT returns
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.

VAT (freeview)

VAT reclaim must specify accounting period
In Bratt Autoservices Company Limited v HMRC [2018] EWCA Civ 1106, the Court of Appeal (CA) found that a VAT reclaim for overpaid output VAT must specify the VAT return period to which it relates in order to be valid.

Email error puts Fleming claim out of bounds
In Edgbaston Golf Club Limited v HMRC [2018] TC06430, the First-Tier Tribunal (FTT) dismissed the golf club’s Fleming claim. It could not be said to have been made to HMRC on time as it was sent to the wrong email address.

VAT claim must be sufficiently quantified
In NHS Lothian Health Board v HMRC [2018] UKUT 0218, the Upper Tribunal (UT) dismissed the health board’s appeal as the VAT reclaimed had not been quantified with sufficient precision.

VAT (subscribers) 

Making VAT Digital
UPDATE: MVD at a glance, clarification as to who is in and out and FAQs answered.

VAT Notice 700/22: Making Tax Digital for VAT
UPDATE: our article picking up the important points from HMRC's VAT notice.

Reclaims and unjust enrichment
UPDATE: more information on types of claims, input VAT, output VAT, Fleming claims, unjust enrichment, repayment supplements, and a variety of case law.

CPD Webinars

New CPD click here

Missed last time's update?

Nichola's SME Tax w-update 24 August 2018


  • Agent update August/September 2018
  • Trusts & Estates: What's New? August 2018
  • Making Tax Digital: VAT
  • Requirement to correct FAQs
  • High Income Child Benefit tax charge
  • and much more..

Come and join our Cloud

Subscribe (and UNLOCK the whole site) A single user annual subscription is £365 (+ VAT). 

What do you get?

  • We keep YOU up to date in SME tax.
  • FULL access to www.rossmartin.co.uk: your firm's personal TAX INTRANET containing over 2,500 actively maintained tax guides, briefings, toolkits and checklists.
  • Want to know more? Commission your own articles and checklists.
  • Structured CPD: our detailed SME tax updates "for Advisers Only" provide topical summaries and planning notes & our NEW webcasts provide you with structured CPD at your desk.
  • Regular client tax briefings: these cover the latest business and employment tax issues and are designed to assist you plan meetings and improve your client services.