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HMRC internal manual

Inheritance Tax Manual

Innocent error: information supplied to another part of HMRC

It may be argued that HMRC has been supplied with information about an asset or gift in another context.

But unless, for example, the local Inspector has been specifically asked to pass the information to us we do not accept that different parts of HMRC

  • exchange information for the purpose of relieving the taxpayer of the obligation to deliver a full and complete account
  • have a duty to exchange information for this purpose, or
  • owe a duty to the individual taxpayer to assess tax based on unrelated information in time to avoid interest and penalty charges for the taxpayer.

In Nicholson v Morris, 51 TC 95, the taxpayer, a barrister’s clerk argued that it would be a simple matter for the Revenue to examine the accounts of all barristers in his chambers and determine his income from that source. Walton J commented that “it is idle for any taxpayer to say to the Revenue, ‘Hidden somewhere in your vaults are the right answers: go and dig them out of your vaults’. That is not a duty on the Revenue. If it were it would be very onerous, very costly and a very expensive operation….”