In Havannah Quay Land Limited v HMRC [2019] TC7177 the FTT varied an information notice issued by HMRC to exclude a broadly drafted request for correspondence.

The company, Havannah Quay Land Limited (HQLL) was one of several companies owned by Michael Woolford. HMRC was conducting enquiries into him and his companies. They made a joint application for a Closure Notice and HQL made an appeal against a Schedule 36 Information Notice that had been issued to it.

Mr Woolford was unable to persuade the tribunal that his applications for closure were acceptable and they were dismissed.

In respect of HQLL, the information notice requested copies of documentation relating the purchase of property, it included a request for “copies of any exchanges of correspondence between you and the solicitors and any other party regarding the purchase and copies of the conveyancing documents.”

The FTT did accept that this correspondence is reasonably required to check the tax position. The request was too broad and too vague:

  • It could cover any number of matters of no relevance at all to the tax position of HQLL.
  • HMRC can make a more specific request.
  • The correspondence is not “statutory records”.

Our useful guides

Closure Notices
When does HMRC issue a closure notice? Can a taxpayer demand one? Are there appeal rights? 

Sch 36 information notices
What is a Schedule 36 Information Notice? When can HMRC issue one? What rights does the taxpayer have when an information notice is issued?

How to appeal an HMRC decision
What type of a decisions are appealable? What are your different options when you disagree with HMRC? What are the key steps in making an appeal?


External links

Case: Michael J Woolford. Pine Ridge Construction Limited, Pine Ridge Homes Limited, Glacier Management Services Limited and Havannah Quay Land Limited v HMRC [2019] TC7177