Home Information Cases M Ransom v Revenue & Customs Commissioners (SpC708) (2008)

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M Ransom v Revenue & Customs Commissioners (SpC708) (2008)


A taxpayer was found, on the balance of probabilities, to have filed an amendment to a tax return on time by delivering it by hand.


The appellant taxpayer (R) appealed against an amendment by the respondent commissioners to his self-assessment tax return. R had made a substantial trading loss during 2001-02 which he intended to carry back and set off against a capital gain he had made the previous year. He was later advised to carry the loss forward, necessitating the amendment of his return for 2000-01 to reverse the carry back. He carried the loss forward to 2005-06, saving tax, but the commissioners amended his return for that year to prevent that. For R's amendments to his 2000-01 return to be effective under the Taxes Management Act 1970 s.9ZA, it had to be delivered to any office of the commissioners at or before midnight on January 31, 2003. R's adviser (W) gave evidence that he had hand delivered the return, along with three other returns, to the commissioners' Woking office on January 31, 2003, after the office had closed but before midnight, leaving it in a basket for late delivered documents. The commissioners produced evidence that had the amendment been left as W asserted, it should have been date stamped in the post room the next day and also received a logging stamp before being forwarded to the north eastern office, where it would be dealt with. There was no stamp on the amendment from Woking, the only stamp being from the north eastern office dated February 7. They therefore claimed that W must have posted the amendment directly to the north eastern office and it had been received too late. However, the three other tax returns delivered by W were date stamped January 31, but had no logging stamp.


R had produced apparently credible evidence that the amendment was hand delivered and the commissioners had produced evidence that if procedures had correctly been followed, it must have been posted to the north eastern office after January 31. There was also evidence to suggest that other documents had not been dealt with correctly by the Woking office at the time. On a strict analysis of the evidence, the court would have found in R's favour on a balance of probabilities. Taking into account W's convincing evidence and answers to cross-examination, W had delivered the document on time as he had asserted.

Appeal allowed

Special Commissioners
Richard Barlow
Judgment date
29 August 2008

​LTL 18/11/2008 : (2008) STC (SCD) 1192