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This week's opinion

05 April 2016 / Andrew Hubbard
Issue: 4544 / Categories: Comment & Analysis

Donaldson decision awaited with anticipation

The tax section of the Senior President of Tribunals’ Annual Report 2016 makes interesting reading. First Judge Bishopp is commendably honest about the failures brought about by moving all the administration of the tax tribunals to Birmingham. It is rare that somebody in a public position openly acknowledges that a decision was a mistake.

The report  also gives some pointers to the future work of the First-tier Tribunal. It tells us that there are many appeals awaiting the outcome of the Court of Appeal’s decision in theDonaldson case on whether a penalty issued by a computer with no human intervention meets the statutory requirements. If such penalties were held to be invalid it would create a major headache for HMRC and would surely lead to a change in the law.

The other point to note perhaps with some alarm is that HMRC is forecasting a substantial increase in the...

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