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HMRC internal manual

Securities Guidance

Appeals and reviews: what the tribunal can do in VAT/environmental tax cases

Experience shows that appellants expect the tribunal to revisit our decisions so as to take account of their compliance record and business performance at the date of the hearing.

The tribunal should only take account of information that was available to the decision maker at the time the decision was made.

What the tribunal can do is consider whether

  • the decision maker, on the facts known to them when they made their decision, acted in a way in which no reasonable person could have acted, see Peachtree Enterprises Ltd v Customs and Excise Commissioners QB [1994] STC 747
  • the decision maker took account of some irrelevant matter or disregarded something to which they ought to have given weight
  • the decision maker erred on a point of law, see John Dee Ltd v Customs and Excise Commissioners CA [1995] STC 941.

The requirement and the amount of security must be reasonable, see M A E & Y Zakaria t/a O B M Systems [2005] V19359.

A tribunal cannot adjust the amount of security but must either allow or dismiss the appeal. If the amount of security can’t be justified then the requirement to give security itself is likely to be unreasonable and disproportionate, see Mediaport Entertainment Ltd [2006] V19437.

If you believe the tribunal to have considered matters that it shouldn’t have considered discuss this with the HMRC case lawyer and contact Central Policy, (This content has been withheld because of exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act 2000) without delay.