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Chinese Internet block is reasonable excuse

A UK taxpayer resident in China had reasonable excuse for being late in filing self-assessments because Chinese restrictions on the Internet meant he could not get past HMRC's two-stage verification procedure (2SV).

HMRC said it was the taxpayer's responsibility to file his tax returns on time. It added that the taxpayer had been late in filing his returns for most years since 2005. He visited property in Scotland, which made him UK resident, and he could file from there.

The tribunal found for the taxpayer. HMRC's code under 2SV are only valid for 15 minutes, making it impossible to comply from China.

The taxpayer's appeal was allowed for one year but not for another where he could easily have filed from UK.

The case report can be downloaded from here.

David Ferguson [2020] TC 7562 [20.03]