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Contentious tax quarterly: Winter 2021

Speed read
We have seen an increase in compliance activity in recent months, including a greater number of applications for penalties under FA 2008 Sch 36 para 50 being made by HMRC. In what is only the second case on para 50 (Mattu), the Upper Tribunal allowed HMRC’s application to impose a substantial penalty, finding that a taxpayer cannot deflect its obligation to comply with an information notice by directing HMRC to a third party. HMRC has also increased its use of ‘nudge’ letters, including in connection with cryptocurrencies; uncertainty over their taxation looms large, and we can expect to see further concerted compliance activity in this area. Meanwhile, the Court of Appeal has published its decision in Fisher on the transfer of assets abroad code, finding, inter alia, that there was no requirement that income tax had been avoided in order for the code to apply and restricting the motive defence.

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