Tooth: Court of Appeal decision cuts two ways

Robin Williamson MBE CTA (Fellow)

September 5, 2019

In HMRC Commrs v Tooth [2019] EWCA Civ 826 (heard on 2 April 2019), the Court of Appeal reaffirmed that, in order for there to be a ‘discovery’ under TMA 1970 s 29, HMRC had to reach a conclusion it had not previously reached about the insufficiency of an assessment. However, the Court’s findings about the scope of ‘deliberate’ behaviour, though not part of the main decision, broke new and disturbing ground by illustrating how an inaccuracy can be ‘deliberate’, and therefore potentially lead to longer time limits for investigation and higher penalties, even if there was no dishonesty and the taxpayer had explained fully in the ‘white space’ what he had done and why.

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