In J Dickinson and others v HMRC [2018] EWCA Civ 2798 the Court of Appeal refused to grant judicial review of APNs, despite HMRC having reneged on a promise not to enforce payment until the case had been heard by the First Tier Tribunal (FTT).

Accelerated payment notices (APNs)  were introduced by Finance Act 2014.

  • The APN asks you to pay the amount of tax that is in dispute.
  • HMRC then hold the money until the matter is resolved.

Mr Dickinson and a large group of claimants entered into DOTAS disguised remuneration arrangements to avoid PAYE and NIC.

  • HMRC issued s29 discovery assessments and the taxpayers appealed.
  • HMRC had previously agreed to postpone any requirement for payment of the tax until after the FTT hearing but went on to issue APN’s.
  • The claimants sought judicial review arguing it was “an unlawful abuse of power for HMRC to resile from its express promises made not to enforce payments pending resolution of the disputes as to the tax in question”.

Both the High Court and the Court of Appeal refused to grant judicial review; the postponement rules may have been changed in 2014 but they had not been abolished and HMRC had a discretion over how to deal with any agreements made under the old rules.

There could be no legitimate expectation that HMRC would honour it’s original promise when this would run counter to the APN legislation which was intended to apply to existing arrangements as well as those entered into after it came into force.

The Court of Appeal criticised HMRC's handling of the case but nevertheless found that the APN’s were valid.

Links to our guides:

Accelerated payments & Follower Notices 

Disguised Remuneration

Grounds for appeal toolkit

External links:

J Dickinson and others v HMRC [2018] EWCA Civ 2798 

High Court decision: J Dickinson and others v HMRC [2017] EWHC 1705 

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