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HMRC internal manual

Enquiry Manual

Reopening Earlier Years: Assessments: Onus of Proof for ETL assessments

If you have made an extended time limit assessment (ETL) it is because there has been a loss of tax as a result of behaviour that is either

  • fraudulent
  • deliberate
  • negligent, or
  • careless.

If the tribunal is considering an appeal against an ETL assessment, you will need to demonstrate that the alleged behaviour is sufficiently serious to support the assessment.

For example, even where they may be some evidence of deliberate behaviour you may not need to allege deliberate behaviour where careless behaviour is sufficient.

In such a case, you need to allege that the behaviour is at least careless, where going back 6 years to issue ETL assessments.

At a later stage in the enquiry you may need to demonstrate deliberate behaviour for penalty purposes, but if behaviour is at least careless, then it is sufficient for the purposes of issuing ETL assessments going back 6 years.

Once you have done this satisfactorily, the onus of proof will normally revert to the taxpayer if they are appealing against the amount of the assessment.