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Budgetary befuddlement

Jul 13, 2015, 06:22 AM
Authors : Andrew Hubbard
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Post date : Jul 13, 2015, 06:22 AM

Another Budget has been and gone. This one had far more meat than we expected and resulted in a mass of HMRC publications.

In the good old days, when we didn’t trust new-fangled fax technology, the only way to get hold of the press releases was to send a student to queue at Somerset House for paper copies.

Now, it is easy; it’s all online. Except it isn’t.

It was a nightmare trying to find things last week. Links from the main Budget page went in all directions (if they worked at all) and, several times, I found myself reading material from the March Budget.

More documents were added throughout the afternoon and into the next day. I am still not absolutely sure I found everything.

It would have been quicker to have sent a student. GOV.UK is simply inadequate for the task. HMRC, please sort this out for next time.

Space for compassion

Apart from reading all of the Budget documents, my suggestion would be to look at the decision in John Clark TC4509.

What used to be the old equitable liability practice was legislated under the special relief rules in TMA 1970, sch 1AB. I was involved in the discussions at the time and was concerned that too high a hurdle had been imposed.

The decision of the tribunal to grant relief in Clark shows that formal processes can still lead to right answers – although I question why HMRC took the case to the tribunal in the first place.

Thanks go to the judge for showing there is still space for compassion within our tax system.

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