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Subjective Language Removed From UK Finance Bill

by Jason Gorringe, Tax-News.com, London

28 May 2007


The Chartered Institute of Taxation (CIOT) has welcomed the removal of the wording ‘HMRC thinks’ from the Finance Bill 2007. The wording was to be used in relation to penalties.

Rob Ellerby, CIOT President, explained that: “The CIOT objected to the use of this wording as it was subjective and not objective. We welcome the fact that HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) listened to us and have responded appropriately.”

The CIOT put the case in the following way when the draft legislation was published: “Where penalties are concerned, the test should always be objective rather than subjective. We believe that in the proposed legislation the words ‘HMRC think that’ are superfluous. The words come from legislation where the inspector is exercising judgement. In the case of penalties, that is not the position. Either there has been an offence giving rise to a penalty or there has not. The penalty follows from what the taxpayer did and from nothing else. These words are not needed.”

Mr Ellerby added: “The removal of the phrase ‘HMRC thinks’ will make the legislation work better, one of the main aims of the CIOT.”


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