HMRC fails to gain access to audit working papers in recent Tribunal case

Nov 26, 2018

In a recent Tribunal case, HMRC were seeking to issue several Schedule 36 information notices to the auditors of a company seeking access to certain working papers as a result of an unqualified audit opinion.

HMRC was concerned that the taxpayers’ corporation tax liability depended on figures from their accounts and so, if figures in the accounts were incorrect, the taxpayers’ may have understated their corporation tax liability for the relevant period.

The request for an information notice in this case clearly shows HMRC’s desire to seek information. However the Tribunal’s refusal to approve enforces the protection available to company auditors in circumstances where the auditor is also the company’s tax agent.

In essence, practitioners should always consider what information HMRC are entitled to and not assume they are entitled to what is asked for.

The full judgment in this case is available from: - http://financeandtax.decisions.tribunals.gov.uk/judgmentfiles/j10685/TC06710.pdf