Tax appeals3rd June, 2009
The normal rule is that the prosecution has to prove its case in the Courts in line with the old adage, “you are innocent until proved guilty”.
Appeals in tax cases are the opposite. It is the taxpayer who has to present his case and prove his innocence. HM Revenue & Customs merely respond, and it will be up to the tribunal to decide who to believe. However, the burden of proof is on the taxpayer.
From April 2009, a new system of tax tribunals has been introduced. The new secretary is a paid official of HMRC and is therefore not independent. He is the individual who decides which panel member will sit on each tribunal. One cannot help wondering if the panel members who regularly decide in favour of the taxpayer will hear fewer case than those who find in the Revenue’s favour.