In Hans Solvkjaer v HMRC [2020] TC07933, the First Tier Tribunal (FTT) dismissed the taxpayer’s application for permission to make a late penalty appeal: there was no compelling evidence to justify one.

  • Hans Solvkjaer purchased a parking space for rental in July 2015 and was advised of the need to complete a 'non-resident tax form'.
  • Mr Solvkjaer’s self-assessment record was set up on 2 February 2016. Notices to file tax returns in respect of the years 2015-16 to 2018-19 were issued by HMRC as each tax year passed.
  • These tax returns were not submitted by the relevant deadlines and so HMRC charged Late filing penalties accordingly. 
  • Some 2015-16 penalties were cancelled by HMRC. Mr Solvkjaer appealed against the remaining penalties on 12 May 2020. This appeal was outside of the 30-day deadline.
  • On 29 May 2020 HMRC declined to agree to the notice of appeal being given late. Mr Solvkjaer appealed to the Tribunal.

A Late appeal is allowed under s.49 TMA 1970 where either: 

  • HMRC are satisfied that there was a Reasonable excuse for not giving the notice in time and that the appeal was made without unreasonable delay after the excuse ceased, or
  • The Tribunal gives permission.

The FTT dismissed the application to make a late appeal, finding that:

  • The right to appeal out of time should only be granted exceptionally as it is important that time-limits are observed.
  • Mr Solvkjaer was equipped with the tools he required to complete his tax returns.
  • The delay in making the appeal was serious and significant: 788 days late in the case of one penalty.
  • The balance between the prejudice to Mr Solvkjaer, the prejudice to HMRC and the interests of justice fell firmly on the side of a late appeal being refused.

Useful guides on this topic 

Appeals: Late
When can you make a late tax appeal? What conditions must be met? 

Appeals: Grounds for Appeal Toolkit
What grounds are there to appeal a tax penalty? How can you word a tax appeal? Can you appeal HMRC errors? What is a reasonable excuse?

How to appeal a tax penalty
What are the steps in making an appeal? What should your appeal cover? What does recent case law say on this topic?

External link 

Hans Solvkjaer v HMRC [2020] TC07933