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21 May 2012
Issue: 4354 / Categories: Tax cases , Admin
J Bentley (TC1927)

A pensioner had for many years employed an accountant to deal with his tax returns. For financial reasons he decided he would no longer use the accountant’s services and planned to complete a 2009/10 return himself.

He anticipated requiring HMRC’s help but had not expected there would be a problem in visiting an office on 31 January 2011 for this purpose. When he contacted the department the earliest available appointment was 3 February. He accepted the date; as a result his return was submitted three days late.

The Revenue issued a late filing penalty against which the taxpayer appealed.

The First-tier Tribunal concluded from HMRC’s evidence that the taxpayer’s local enquiry office did not offer a service whereby taxpayers could attend in person and file their return with the help of a staff member.

The department said a ‘prudent taxpayer’ should have known it would be...

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