The evidence in McGreevy, Hesketh and Welland reveals judicial diversity on what amounts to reasonable excuse; whether ignorance of the law can be a valid excuse for non-compliance; and when HMRC’s failings exculpate a taxpayer (in the context of non-resident capital gains tax (NRCGT)). In Cannon, HMRC unsuccessfully argued that expertise raises the reasonableness bar. The Tax Law Review Committee (TLRC) questioned both whether HMRC’s new powers were subject to any effective sanction (quis custodiet ipsos custodes?); and whether more certainty or clarity needs to be brought to what amounts to reasonable excuse. Time for a change?
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