Customs overruled in VAT case

Buckley said ‘Mr D’ was entitled to the factual information which made up the bulk of the report by the Taunton VAT Office which handled his case – this after ‘Mr D’ had lost appeals to both the VAT Tribunal and to the High Court.

Customs had earlier refused on the ground that the report contained internal opinion, advice and recommendation.

But Buckley, who revealed the three-page report contained an account of the way the papers had been dealt with, an account of the background to the case and a review of the papers, as well as comment, opinion and advice, said there was no reason why ‘Mr D’ should not have an edited version.

He, however, ruled against an accountant’s request to see all the correspondence between the Adjudicator and the Inland Revenue relating to a complaint by ‘Mr and Mrs B’ about the way the Revenue had handled their affairs.

The Ombudsman said to do so would harm ‘frank and candid informal discussions’ between the Adjudicator’s staff and the Revenue – the Adjudicator had earlier ruled against the couple’s complaint.

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