In Nottingham Forest Football Club Limited v HMRC  TC8577, the taxpayer failed to meet their burden of proof to displace a VAT assessment allowing the First Tier Tribunal (FTT) to use information provided over a year prior to the assessment that was sufficient for HMRC to identify a tax shortfall.
- On 20 April 2018, HMRC visited the taxpayer to discuss how the business operated and its accounting systems and took electronic accounting information from the taxpayer.
- Further information was obtained from the taxpayer on 9 May 2018.
- HMRC issued a VAT assessment on 29 April 2019.
- Following an unsuccessful Statutory Review, the taxpayer Appealed to the FTT on the basis that the assessment was raised out of time as it had been raised over a year after the initial provision of information.
Section 73 (6) VATA 1994 provides that:
An assessment under subsection (1), (2) or (3) above of an amount of VAT due for any prescribed accounting period must be made within the time limits provided for in section 77 and shall not be made after the latter of the following:
- Two years after the end of the prescribed accounting period.
- One year after evidence of the facts, sufficient in the opinion of the Commissioners to justify the making of the assessment, comes to their knowledge.
This case focussed on (2) above.
The FTT found that:
- The burden of proof was on the taxpayer to show the assessment had been raised late.
- The taxpayer did not provide evidence which showed that the initial information provided on 20 April 2018 was sufficient to justify the making of the assessment.
- The FTT could not conclude the information provided on 9 May 2018 was irrelevant to the assessment raised.
- The time limit for raising the assessment, therefore, expired on 9 May 2019 and the assessment, raised on 29 April 2019, was in time.
The appeal was dismissed.
Useful guides on this topic
What is a Statutory Review? Is it automatic? What happens in a Statutory Review? Can you challenge a Statutory Review's findings? Can you influence a Statutory Review by HMRC?
How to appeal an HMRC decision
Disagree with an HMRC decision? How to appeal, what type of decision can you appeal and what are your different options when you disagree with HMRC? What are the key steps in making an appeal?