As the above quotation shows, paying taxes is nothing new.  As we approach the end of January and the deadline for filing and pay tax for the 2014/15 tax year we write to remind you that Eaves and Co are here to help.

Whether you are an individual struggling to understand your tax return form, or have not registered for HMRC’s Online Services in time, or an accountant needing extra assistance with a complex tax issue, we can help and hopefully ensure you are able to file before the 31 January deadline.   We have specialist extensive professional experience and expertise to deal with those knotty technical problems, plus relevant software and access to HMRC Online filing, so can file returns online at short notice.  All this with friendly service!

On another topic, and as a reminder for clients who are having difficulty raising finance, you may recall from previous messages that we have a contact who is involved in raising finance for all sorts of different purposes. Whatever weird and wonderful schemes your clients wish to consider – talk to Jonathan Smith on (Tel: 07778 523499) or (email jgsmith@jgsfinance.co.uk).  Quote reference ‘EVL’.  His website is www.jgsfinance.co.uk/asset-leasing-contract-hire-sale-leaseback.  This includes arranging loans to pay unpleasant tax bills.

As a reminder, Jonathan Smith qualified as a Chartered Accountant with Arthur Andersen but now works solely in raising finance. He is a man I have worked with over many years, and as a former partner of mine, a man who I trust and can recommend highly.

Recent blogs have considered the HMRC interpretation of reasonable excuse as requiring Death, Disease or Disaster. Although this latest case may not concern this interpretation of ‘reasonable excuse,’ it continues the theme of HMRC taking a hard line and refusing to consider circumstances.

In Maxwell v CRC, the taxpayer’s accountant, who had been responsible for preparing and submitting the tax returns, passed away. When the filing dates for Mr Maxwell’s self-assessment returns were missed due to the unfortunate death of his agent, determinations were raised by the HMRC. The determinations that were raised by HMRC were subsequently found to be excessive when compared to the tax due; the determination for the 2007/08 tax year was just under £5,000 whereas the tax liability for was found to be only £400. Unfortunately, the deadline to displace the determinations raised by HMRC was also not met by the taxpayer and HMRC stood by the original determinations refusing a claim for Special Relief.

Maxwell appealed under TMA 1970, Sch 1AB para 3A, which states that a claim for relief can be made where HMRC would believe it to be unconscionable to seek to recover the amount or to withhold the repayment of tax.  Maxwell had been unaware of his agent’s illness and believed that he had been handling his taxation matters efficiently so therefore felt it was unconscionable for HMRC to recover the excess tax.

The measures in question were introduced in 2011 with equitable liability replaced by the new statutory Special Relief.  In 2011 this ‘special relief’ was introduced as a form of relief which can apply to amounts charged in HMRC determinations for self-assessment where no other statutory remedy is available. Although conditions have to be met to be eligible for special relief, the relevant condition in question in Maxwell v CRC was whether HMRC found it unconscionable to seek to recover the amount charged by the determination.

The taxpayer appealed against HMRC’s refusal and the FTT tribunal ruled that the taxpayer had satisfied all conditions required. His appeal was allowed and relief was granted. Consequently, HMRC was found to have acted in a manner deemed unconscionable in this case.