In Shane de Silva v HMRC [2021] UKUT 0275, the Upper Tier Tribunal refused to allow a late tax appeal. The taxpayer persistently failed to explain the reasons behind a period of delay of between 551 and 1338 days.

The FTT refused to allow the Late appeal.  

The taxpayer made an appeal to the UT on the basis that the FTT reached a decision that no reasonable tribunal could have reached on the facts.

On Appeal, the UT noted that neither the taxpayer nor his adviser had given evidence to provide a sufficiently good reason for the serious and significant delay in making an appeal. The burden of proof, in this respect, lay with the taxpayer.

Having made an evaluation of the merits of the reasons given for the delay, the UT and weighed those up with the vast length of the delay, the cost to the taxpayer of not allowing the appeal and the costs to HMRC for re-hearing evidence.

It concluded that the FTT had come to the correct decision and dismissed the appeal.


The taxpayers' original failure to engage with HMRC was never explained! In a late appeal, the taxpayer has to meet the qualifying conditions as set out in s.49 TMA 1970 and then Case law on Late Appeals tells us that the tribunal should:

As the UT noted the burden of proof lies with the taxpayer to persuade the tribunal that a reasonable excuse existed and that there is merit to allowing a late appeal. 

Useful guides on this topic

Late appeals
When can you make a late tax appeal? What conditions must be met?

How to appeal an HMRC decision
Disagree with a HMRC decision? How to appeal, what type of decision can you appeal and what are your different options when you disagree with HMRC? What are the key steps in making an appeal?

How to appeal a penalty assessment?
What are the steps in making an appeal? What should your appeal cover? What does recent case law say on this topic?

Discovery Assessments
When can HMRC make an assessment outside of normal assessment time limits? How can you appeal a late assessment by HMRC.

External links

Shane de Silva v HMRC [2021] UKUT 0275


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