Professional Negligence: Late Filing of a tax return.

In Lithgow v Revenue and Customs Commissioners [2012] UKFTT 620 (TC) this was an appeal by the taxpayer against penalties which had been imposed for the late filing of a tax return.

The tax payer instructed his accountant to complete and file the tax return on his behalf. The accountant had personal problems and as a consequence failed to file the taxpayer’s tax return on time.

The taxpayer submitted that he had a reasonable excuse for the late filing of the tax return.

An appeal was filed against the various penalties for late payment.

The appeal however was dismissed. The reason was the accountant was only acting as a functionary. He was the taxpayer’s agent in filing the tax return. He had not offered any professional advice which had been negligent that the taxpayer had relied on. In that situation if a taxpayer relied on negligent advice that would be an excuse. The filing of a tax return late was not such an occasion.

Of course the taxpayer could take action against his accountants to recover any extra fees as a consequence due to his failures by way of a professional negligence claim.

For advice as to professional negligence and claims against accountants call Carruthers Law or fill in one of our enquiry forms.


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