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Arctic frostbite

08 September 2009
Issue: 4222 / Categories: Forum & Feedback , Arctic Systems , Income Tax
A taxpayer entered into a ‘without prejudice’ settlement with HMRC on the basis that the department would win the Arctic Systems case. The department having lost, the taxpayer is now seeking to recover the overpaid tax

In October 2005 our clients entered into a ‘without prejudice’ settlement with HMRC following an enquiry that the department had made into dividend payments.

The settlement was only entered into on the condition that the clients reserved the right to revisit the case pending the Arctic Systems case (Garnett v Jones (re Arctic Systems Ltd) [2007] STC 1536).

The settlement covered the tax years from 1997/98 to 2003/04.

Following the decision of the House of Lords in Arctic Systems the position was revisited and a repayment was received for the latter three years.

The HMRC officer advised that the earlier years were time barred despite being advised that the settlement was agreed in October 2005 and the original tax paid was not charged by assessment.

It appears that the tax should never have been paid and HMRC have already ruled out equitable liability.

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