In Ian Daisley v National Crime Agency [2018] TC 6851, it was held that discovery assessments made by the National Crime Agency (NCA) were validly made. There were no grounds to displace the assessments.

  • In 2005-6 the taxpayer was investigated by the NCA. He was later convicted and imprisoned between 2007-2009 for drug dealing.
  • In criminal cases, the NCA can take over the functions of HMRC in relation to discovery assessments.
  • During the course of its work, the NCA found evidence of untaxed income. In 2013, the NCA took over functions from HMRC and in 2014 raised discovery assessments for a total of £290,007.
  • Assessments were based on the taxpayer’s income as he had stated it on mortgage application forms. The HMRC officer had also trawled through the taxpayer’s bank statements.
  • The question was whether there was undue delay in raising the assessments: had they been discovered in time and if it was reasonable at that time. Reasonableness could not be evaluated on the basis of subsequent evidence.
  • The case gave a long analysis of the facts and relevant law. Its conclusion was that the assessments were reasonably made and were in time.


'Staleness' in discovery assessments is a hot topic: the concept being that HMRC should act swiftly once it is aware of any under assessment. The facts and circumstances of this case were quite unique

Useful guides

Best judgment (VAT) assessments

Discovery assessments 

External links

Ian Daisley v National Crime Agency [2018] TC 6851 


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