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SDLTM52520 - Procedure: Relief in the case of a mistake in a land transaction return FA03/SCH10/PARA34: Practice generally prevailing at filing date

No relief shall be given on the grounds of an alleged mistake in the basis of computation of liability if the land transaction return was made on the basis of, or in accordance with, the practice generally prevailing at the time when the return was made. FA03/SCH10/PARA34(4)(a) refers.

The question of whether there is a practice generally prevailing is not an easy one to answer as there has to be a general acceptance of the practice by HM Revenue & Customs, taxpayers and agents throughout the UK.

A decision of the courts given after the date of a land transaction return, which amends the previous generally prevailing practice, does not afford a title to the relief.

The practice adopted in a particular case is not in itself conclusive. It is the practice generally prevailing, which is significant.

Where a deliberate choice has been made between two valid alternatives, for example whether to make a claim to group relief or not there can be no mistake in the return.

The chosen alternative may not with hindsight prove to be to best advantage but it is not incorrect.

Although the assessment may be excessive, it is not excessive by reason of some mistake in a return.

Similarly, no relief is admissible on the grounds of a claimed error on the basis of computation of liability

  • if the return was made on a basis which, though wrong in law, had been deliberately adopted by the purchaser
  • gave a result which, having regard to all the relevant circumstances of the case, was reasonable and just

See, in this connection, Carrimore Six Wheelers Ltd v CIR, 1944, 26TC301.