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HMRC internal manual

Debt Management and Banking Manual

Summary Proceedings (Sc): Small claims - answering defences: Defence that notice of assessment was not received

Whilst a defence on the grounds that a notice of assessment has not been received is unlikely to occur very often, it is the most important defence. If it is true then you have no claim for the tax, as it is a statutory requirement that the taxpayer must be served with a notice of assessment.

From the information contained within your papers you may be able to provide evidence to show that the notice of assessment had been received by the defender and/or their agent. For example there may be correspondence referring to the notice. If however you cannot be sure that the notice was received by the defender/agent or if the court is unwilling to grant decree at the preliminary hearing you should

  • ask the court to continue the hearing to give you time to investigate the matter and
  • refer your papers together with a full report of the hearing to HMRC Solicitors Office (1st Floor Clarendon House 114-116 George Street Edinburgh EH2 4LH tel. (This content has been withheld because of exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act 2000) .