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Revenue watch: Discovery assessments: an update

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The recent decision in Lansdowne concerns the interpretation of the legislation enabling HMRC to make discovery assessments. Lansdowne focused on the officer’s ‘awareness’ of an insufficiency in the return. It was decided that because one officer was ‘on the case’ and that officer had stated he would be passing on the information to other officers, then the attribution of knowledge to ‘an officer of the Board’ was justified, and hence no discovery could be made. HMRC is using its interpretation of discovery to start enquiries well outside the self-assessment 'window'.

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