In JJ Management LLP & Ors, R (On the Application Of) v HMRC & Anor [2019] EWHC 2006 (Admin) the High Court found that an informal investigation by HMRC into the affairs of a business man were lawful.

  • The taxpayer, who is both UK resident domiciled runs successful supermarket businsses in Spain and Portugal.
  • HMRC opened an informal investigation into his affairs in the UK and abroad.
  • HMRC used its powers under schedule 36 FA2009 to obtain information
  • The investigation proved wide ranging, invasive and became personally stressful for the taxpayer.
  • His adviser had been unable to clarify under which powers HMRC had opened its enquiry and the taxpayer sought to test HMRC’s powers in order to bring about a conclusion to the case.
  • He applied for judicial review.

The High Court dismissed all his grounds for review:

  • HMRC was not acting illegally, it has a general power to investigate and collect the right amount of tax.
  • Although the taxpayer was unable to apply for a closure notice, as no formal enquiry was made, the taxpayer would be able to appeal any discovery assessments raised.
  • Enquiries made to the tax authorities in Spain and Portugal were all lawful.


An interesting review of HMRC's powers by the High Court, the taxpayer will presumably consider the next step. 

Useful tax guides for subscribers

How to appeal an HMRC decision

Discovery Assessments


Schedule 36 information notices: At a glance

Time limits for Offshore matters: At a glance

External links

JJ Management LLP & Ors, R (On the Application Of) v HMRC & Anor [2019] EWHC 2006 (Admin)