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DOTAS and discovery

HMRC’s attempt in Charlton to use TMA 1970 s 29 to correct its own error seems to be arguably in breach of its own litigation strategy and is contrary to assurances given in 2004 when DOTAS was introduced.

The decision of the Upper Tribunal in Charlton FTC/73/2011 was clear cut and changes little as to how the ‘discovery’ rules apply. Briefly summarised the taxpayers fully disclosed their tax scheme including crucially a scheme reference number (SRN). Despite this HMRC (fully aware of the scheme) overlooked the need to open an enquiry.

To be fair to HMRC the scheme failed so HMRC may have felt justified in pursuing a case that they were unlikely to win. However if this was a ‘nothing...

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