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Patel: enquiries into ‘voluntary returns’

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In Patel & Anor v HMRC, the First-tier Tribunal (FTT), in finding in favour of the taxpayers at a preliminary hearing, has held that HMRC had not opened valid enquiries into the taxpayers’ self-assessment returns, as the returns had not been made pursuant to a notice issued by HMRC under TMA 1970 s 8(1). The FTT held that HMRC’s ‘purposive’ construction of s 8 was flawed and that their reliance on the ancillary powers provided to it under the Commissioners for Revenue and Customs Act 2005 was ‘disturbing’. This decision will have wide ramifications for any other taxpayers and directly impact upon HMRC’s ability to open enquiries into tax returns submitted ‘voluntarily’.

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