Bell (appellant) v HM Revenue & Customs & anr (respondents)
Wednesday 25 January 2023
By appellant’s notice filed on 30 November 2021, the appellant, Mr Bell, appeals the decision of Upper Tribunal Judges Jonathan Richards and Jonathan Cannan, whereby they dismissed his appeal against a case management decision of the First tier Tribunal dated 30 October 2019.
The substantive appeals that are before the First Tier Tribunal are appeals by Mr. Bell and Mr. Mitchell against Personal Liability Notices issued against each of them by HMRC under the provisions of paragraph 19(1) of Schedule 24 to the Finance Act 2007. HMRC seeks to make each of Mr. Bell and Mr. Mitchell liable to pay 50% of the penalties assessed against two companies (“the Universal Companies”) jointly owned by Mr. Bell and Mr. Mitchell on the grounds that each of them was an “officer” of the companies and that the deliberate inaccuracy that led to the imposition of penalties assessed on the companies was attributable to them.
The FTT heard two applications in respect to: 1) an application by HMRC that HMRC should be permitted to disclose to Mr Bell certain documents relating to the tax affairs of Mr Mitchell and companies connected to him and 2) an application by Mr Mitchell that the same documents should be excluded from evidence at the substantive hearing of the appeals. The FTT, with the agreement of the parties, split the documents into a number of categories. The FTT decided that certain documents in one category concerning a section of any document containing any mention of interaction between the Universal Companies with other companies controlled or allegedly controlled by Mr Mitchell and Mr Bell were only admissible to the extent that they referred to companies mentioned in HMRC’s Statement of Case. The FTT further decided that anything which went to Mr Mitchell’s or Mr Bell’s credibility were not relevant in the absence of any pleaded case by HMRC that Mr Mitchell’s statements about his other tax affairs were unreliable.