Supreme Court refuses permission to appeal in Information Notice JR – R(PML Accounting Ltd) v HMRC

The Supreme Court has refused permission to appeal in R(PML Accounting Ltd) v HMRC, thereby bringing to an end PML’s Judicial Review challenge which sought to require HMRC to deliver up and destroy work product provided pursuant to an allegedly unlawful Schedule 36 Information Notice.

A practice note on the original decision of the High Court refusing the JR can be found here.

The Court of Appeal (Longmore LJ; Henderson LJ; Peter Jackon LJ) rejected PML’s appeal.  Of particular interest to tax practitioners, it held, inter alia, that:

  • Sch.36, para 29 envisages only one appeal against an Information Notice at any one time which must encompass any complaint about the Notice.  That is not to say that a taxpayer is precluded from applying to amend an appeal to include further grounds either within the 30 day statutory time limit or outside of it.
  • Questions of the validity of a Notice must be dealt with before any question of the assessment of any penalty (or appeal against any such penalty) can occur.  It is only after appeal rights in relation to a Notice itself have been exhausted or not utilised that any right of appeal against penalties comes into existence.
  • In the circumstances of this case, PML’s settlement by s.54 TMA agreement of its appeal against the Information Notice concluded all issues of the Notice’s validity and had the same effect as if the question of validity had been determined in favour of HMRC.  This operated as an issue estoppel precluding any further questioning of the validity of the underlying Notice in the subsequent penalties appeal (Henderson LJ dissenting).

The Supreme Court has now refused PML’s application for permission to an appeal, thereby bringing the JR challenge to a conclusion.

Akash Nawbatt QC and Sebastian Purnell appeared on behalf of the successful Respondent, instructed by the General Counsel and Solicitor to HMRC.

To read the full judgment of the Court of Appeal, please click here.

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