TaxPersonal TaxMixed reaction to Han & Yau result

Mixed reaction to Han & Yau result

Customs & Excise appeal court loss in the Han & Yau case yesterday has received differing responses from tax experts.

PricewaterhouseCoopers, which represented Han & Yau, said the ruling ‘brought justice to tax allegations’.

Indirect tax partner at PwC, Michael Bailey, said: ‘The outcome of this case will lead to a fundamental change in English law.

‘The hallmark of a civilised society is that it provides access to justice for all, and ensures that the due process is fair,’ he said.

Last December, the VAT & Duties Tribunal ruled in the Han & Yau case that tax evasion offences should be considered criminal for human rights purposes because of the severity of the penalties imposed.

Customs appealed against the decision, but has had its case thrown out by the Court of Appeal.

But head of tax investigations at KPMG, Tom Murray, said the verdict would only leave the tax penalties system in confusion.

‘The court did little more than affirm the principle that substantial tax penalties can amount to “criminal charges” under the Human Rights Act,’ he said.

And, according to the firm, the principles are equally applicable to penalties imposed by the Inland Revenue.

‘The Inland Revenue and Customs, as well as taxpayers and advisers, should regard this as a most unsatisfactory state of affairs. Penalties are an increasing feature of tax compliance and investigation work, and there is an urgent need to go beyond the principle and establish some consensus on the many practical issues that could follow from it,’ said Murray.

PKFs John Gwyer called on Customs and the Inland Revenue to get together with the tax profession to find an alternative way forward.

‘If this decision means the civil approach is not going to be viable in the future because the authorities have to go the criminal route, then that’s a retrograde step,’ he said.

Customs has now been given leave to appeal to the House of Lords.

Links

Landmark Han & Yau VAT ruling given

Human rights force VAT probe rethink

Related Articles

Inheritance tax is 'unfit for modern society' and should be abolished, says think tank

Personal Tax Inheritance tax is 'unfit for modern society' and should be abolished, says think tank

3w Alia Shoaib, Reporter
Rent-a-room relief – the survey says…

Personal Tax Rent-a-room relief – the survey says…

2m Helen Thornley, ATT Technical Officer
What should the OTS prioritise in its review of inheritance tax?

Personal Tax What should the OTS prioritise in its review of inheritance tax?

4m Alia Shoaib, Reporter
LITRG urges government to consider tax changes in disability work plan

Administration LITRG urges government to consider tax changes in disability work plan

5m Lucy Skoulding, Reporter
HMRC appeal rejected in Tottenham Hotspur case

Administration HMRC appeal rejected in Tottenham Hotspur case

6m Emma Smith, Managing Editor
HMRC urged to clarify impact of income allowances on Self-Assessments

Personal Tax HMRC urged to clarify impact of income allowances on Self-Assessments

7m Alia Shoaib, Reporter
New trading allowance: simplicity, but not as we know it

Administration New trading allowance: simplicity, but not as we know it

7m Emma Rawson, ATT Technical Officer
Wealthy individuals could circumvent top tax rate rises

Personal Tax Wealthy individuals could circumvent top tax rate rises

9m Alia Shoaib, Reporter