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Feedback: Hanover Company Services and relying on HMRC manuals

As Richard Carson observed in his recent article [‘Relying on HMRC manuals post-Hanover’ Tax Journal 15 November] the case of Hanover Company Services Ltd v HMRC [2010] UKFTT 256 (TC) appears to cast doubt on the well-established proposition that HMRC like every other government department is bound by any promises or practices which create a legitimate expectation of a substantive benefit (see especially ex p MFK Underwriting [1990] 1 WLR 1545 at 1569C).

In Hanover Company Services the taxpayer sought to apply a practice contained in the HMRC Manuals. The First-tier tribunal held on two bases that the taxpayer had no legitimate expectation to have the practice applied in its case. First the FTT held that the taxpayer had not relied on the practice; it had only relied on its accountant. Secondly the FTT held that the ‘health...

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