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HMRC internal manual

Enquiry Manual

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Recalculating Profits: Tax Cases - Brittain v Gibb 59TC374

In Brittain v Gibb the taxpayer was a self-employed painter and decorator. The Commissioners were not satisfied with his explanations of the Inspector’s criticisms of the accuracy of his accounts and determined the assessments on an estimate of his profits. They multiplied his likely hourly charge by the number of hours in his likely working year. Further, they based their estimates for earlier years on the one year which had been examined in detail.

The Judge said `it seems to me quite impossible to say that in making that estimate, or in rejecting the appellant’s evidence and in particular the accounts he produced, they erred as a matter of law’. He went on to reject Mr Brittain’s contention that the Commissioners should have examined the earlier years’ accounts and given reasons for rejecting each of them. The Inspector had `fastened, not exclusively but to a large extent, upon the accounts for one year in order to demonstrate ….. the unreliability of the appellant’s accounts. The Commissioners, having heard all the evidence, were not satisfied with the accounts and at that point were entitled to make their own estimate for each year under appeal’.