VAT Assessment One-Year Time Limits at the Upper Tribunal

30 May 2024


  • In the case of Nottingham Forest v HMRC [2024] UKUT 145 (TCC), the Courts were tasked with deciding an appeal on a very narrow point in VAT legislation – what was the date that HMRC acquired evidence of facts sufficient to justify making a VAT assessment?
  • Section 73(6)(b) of the VAT Act 1994 states an assessment shall not be made later than one year after evidence of facts, sufficient in the opinion of HMRC to justify the making of the assessment, came to their knowledge
  • The dispute between HMRC and the taxpayer involved a very narrow window – was the knowledge acquired on 20 April or 9 May 2018?
  • The First-tier Tax Tribunal (“FTT”) agreed with HMRC and found that knowledge wasn’t acquired until 9 May and so, the assessment (raised on 29 April 2019) was in time
  • The Upper Tribunal (“UT”) upheld the decision
  • The Judgement confirms that the burden of proof lies on the taxpayer to show that the assessment was made out of time. This is on the basis that the taxpayer will usually be able to demonstrate when it supplied evidence to HMRC and/or why the information known to HMRC should have been sufficient in the opinion of the assessing HMRC officer to justify the making of the assessment. When the taxpayer has done so, it is for HMRC to show why such evidence was not sufficient to justify the making of the assessment

See the full case here.

Aspire comment

This is a case on a very specific point of VAT legislation, however s73 of the VAT Act 1994 is not to be overlooked – it is legislation we constantly consider when dealing with our client’s VAT assessments.