Tax Barrister, Keith Gordon, has launched an online petition campaigning against a proposed change in the wording of HMRC’s Extra-statutory Concession A19 (“ESC A19”).  He hopes to get as many tax professionals as possible to show their opposition to HMRC’s plans before the current consultation period expires on 24 September.

Under Extra Statutory Concession A19 tax arrears may be waived when HMRC has failed to use information available to it to assess an individual's tax liabilities on time. HMRC are currently consulting on changing the wording of ESC A19, the proposed changes will make it much more difficult for taxpayers to invoke the concession.

Mr Gordon, who practises from Atlas Chambers in London, comments:

“ESC A19 is designed to be a get-out-of-jail free card available to the country’s poorest taxpayers who are told of old tax liabilities several years down the line.  It applies when HMRC have simply failed to use the information available to them and the taxpayer could reasonably have believed their tax affairs were up to date.” 

“In the past couple of years, HMRC have attempted to reinterpret their own guidance simply to avoid applying the concession in the very cases for which it was designed.  This has caused unnecessary anxiety for thousands of taxpayers, many of whom will find it impossible to fund the unexpected debt.”

The petition is available at