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Unclear advice

13 March 2014
Issue: 4444 / Categories: Tax cases , Admin , Employees , Income Tax

L Howard (TC3154)

The taxpayer appealed against a penalty for the late submission his end-of-year employer return. He claimed reasonable excuse on the ground he was no longer an employer.

He said he had called HMRC’s employer helpline many times to deregister but was directed constantly to other numbers or the taxman’s website.

The taxpayer received reminders for tax that was not due and tried unsuccessfully to file a return. A Revenue adviser eventually told him to download the basic tools programme which he did and then succeeded in submitting the return.

The First-tier Tribunal concluded that the taxpayer experienced great difficulty in trying to send the end-of-year document. HMRC’s advice has been unclear especially on filing where there are no employees.

The taxpayer was told the scheme could not be closed but it could have been shut down once he had given notice there were no employees. He did...

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