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Tribunal Overturns £200k Tax Bill and Penalties

Published by Prerana
Published Date: May 12, 2024

A former director of a luxury hotel and spa has recently won an appeal against a £200,000 tax bill and penalties imposed by HMRC. The case revolves around a director's loan account and highlights the challenges of tax compliance and the significance of precise financial record-keeping.

What was the Centre of Dispute Between HMRC and the Director?

The main point of contention involves the Director's Loan Accounts (DLAs), which contained significant amounts owed by the director to his company, the 55-bedroom luxury hotel located in Southampton. These debts added up to £783,289 and transferred to the director through DLAs.

Directors loan case dispute

Later, the company wrote off the debts during the 2013/14 tax year. The director then completed an Income Tax Self Assessment (ITSA) with no mention of the loans. This resulted in HMRC launching an inquiry in 2018, questioning the validity of these transactions and seeking clarification on the sums that the company wrote off.

A closure notice was issued to the director under Section 28A (1B) and (2) of the Taxes Management Act 1970 (TMA). The notice charged £201,177.30 in Income Tax for the tax year 2013/14. Also, HMRC issued penalties worth £90,529.78 on a charge of deliberately filing self assessment form inaccurately. This penalty was filed under Schedule 24 of the Finance Act 2007.

How Did the Tribunal Come to A Decision?

During a highly scrutinised legal proceeding, a tribunal meticulously examined the facts and arguments presented by both parties. In the ruling,  the judge overturned the closure notice issued by HMRC and dismissed the penalties imposed on the director.

The tribunal's decision hinged on critical factors such as the absence of conclusive evidence supporting the alleged loan write-offs and the director's need for more awareness regarding these transactions.


The recent tribunal ruling was a significant victory for the luxury hotel’s director, who cleared his position after facing scrutiny from HMRC. This case emphasises the importance of complying with tax regulations and maintaining accurate financial records.

Seeking professional guidance to navigate tax complexities effectively is crucial. The decision will have a long-lasting impact on tax regulations and guide the conduct of taxpayers and authorities alike.

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