Compensation & Benefits: Incomplete disclosure of facts may result in both formal and informal tax rulings being withdrawn

31 January 2012 |

In a recent VAT case, the High Court has ruled that taxpayer’s application for judicial review of HMRC’s decision to withdraw its VAT ruling with retrospective effect, because the taxpayer had failed to make a full and accurate disclosure of material facts, should be dismissed.

HMRC’s Code of Practice 10 sets out when HMRC will provide information and guidance on the interpretation of tax law (see Resources below).

Commentary

This case will be of interest to those seeking to obtain certainty of the tax treatment of particular arrangements, in advance or post transaction, by relying on both statutory and non-statutory rulings and clearances from HMRC, for example in relation to Enterprise Management Incentive schemes and share valuations.

It is clear from the decision, as would be expected, that a taxpayer may only rely on any type of clearance or ruling from HMRC if full and accurate facts are disclosed to HMRC, not only at the time when a ruling is being sought but also subsequently if any material changes occur.

Failure to correctly detail the circumstances and practical operation of the arrangements could result in a ruling being withdrawn by HMRC or rendered void ab initio, with a potentially significant associated cost if the tax treatment applied is subsequently determined by HMRC to be incorrect.

Resources

R (on the application of The Medical Protection Society Limited) v HMRC [2009] EWHC 2780 (Admin)

HMRC Code of Practice 10

HMRC clearance service for businesses

For further information or to discuss the issues raised, please contact Guy Abbiss (guy.abbiss@abbisscadres.com) or Libs Davies (libs.davies@abbisscadres.com) on +44 (0) 203 051 5711.

Disclaimer

Content is for general information purposes only. The information provided is not intended to be comprehensive and it does not constitute or contain legal or other advice. If you require assistance in relation to any issue please seek specific advice relevant to your particular circumstances. In particular, no responsibility shall be accepted by the authors or by Abbiss Cadres LLP for any losses occasioned by reliance on any content appearing on or accessible from this article. For further legal information click here.

Circular 230 disclosure

To ensure compliance with requirements imposed by the IRS and other taxing authorities, we inform you that any tax advice contained in this article (including any attachments) is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of (i) avoiding penalties that may be imposed on any taxpayer or (ii) promoting, marketing or recommending to another party any transaction or matter addressed herein.

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