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Beagles: ‘staleness’ in discovery

Speed read

C Beagles v HMRC is the latest case to test the concept of whether a discovery can go ‘stale’ and therefore invalidate a discovery assessment for a tax year which is otherwise within the normal discovery assessment time limits. The Upper Tribunal followed a previous Upper Tribunal decision in deciding that staleness could invalidate an assessment, but indicated that the higher courts need to consider the concept. In the Beagles case, the tribunal said that a two and a half year delay made a discovery stale. The amount of delay that will constitute staleness will depend on the facts. Advisers need to consider whether there are staleness arguments whenever discovery assessments are raised.

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