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S Cussens v HMRC

In S Cussens v HMRC [2019] UKFTT 543 (20 August 2019) the FTT found that ‘extravagant’ discovery assessments were invalid.

In April 2017 HMRC had begun to check Mr Cussens’ tax affairs and he had been ‘less than cooperative’. It had issued discovery assessments in January 2018 relating to 10 tax years on the basis of failure to declare trading profits. Mr Cussens appealed against the assessments submitting that he had no income over the relevant fiscal years that would have resulted in a liability to tax. He referred to an illness which prevented him from working. The assessments were based on HMRC’s belief that Mr Cussens purchased cheap second-hand motor cars which he then advertised and sold at a profit. HMRC had taken its estimate of the sales for 2015/16 and deducted 50% for expenses. It had then scaled back the results for the previous...

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