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HMRC v O’Rorke

In HMRC v O’Rorke (Upper Tribunal – 18 October) a company went into liquidation in 2007 having failed to pay national insurance contributions of more than £320 000. HMRC issued a notice under SSAA 1992 s 121C to the company’s finance director ruling that he should be liable for paying the majority of the unpaid contributions. The director appealed contending that he had not been guilty of any ‘neglect’ so that the condition laid down by s 121C(1)(b) was not satisfied. At a preliminary hearing the First-Tier Tribunal held that ‘neglect’ should be construed subjectively so that it should consider medical evidence about the director’s mental capacity but the Upper Tribunal reversed this decision. Hildyard J held that the question of ‘neglect’ had to be construed objectively and remitted the case to the First-tier Tribunal for rehearing.

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