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Section 93(4) Taxes Management act 1970

Whoops my Tax returns are late - well in fact they were sent in on time and they have been lost so Gordon's Lackeys are getting their knickers in a twist: So I have received a couple of "Notices of Determination of Penalty for a late Tax Return". £100, Kerching!.
So whilst I leave my accountant to argue as to whether I owe the money it seems like a good time to wheel out the Neil Herron defence:

Dear [name],

Please find enclosed a copy of Notice of Determination of Penalty for a late Tax Return which I received on today. It was issued by "The Officer in Charge" and is attempting to impose a 'Penalty Charge' of £100

Upon checking the legislation, I was surprised to find that HM Revenue & Customs, appear to be attempting to extort money from me in an unlawful manner. Please find enclosed an extract of the Bill of Rights Act 1689, enacted and formally entered into Statute following the Declaration of Rights 1689. I draw your attention to the section that I have highlighted:

"That all grants and promises of fines and forfeitures of particular persons before conviction are illegal and void".

This states that a conviction is necessary before a fine or forfeit can be imposed. As you will be aware, the Bill of Rights is a "constitutional statue" and may not be repealed impliedly. As stated in the "Metric Martyrs" Judgment in the Divisional Court (18th February 2002) by Lord Justice Laws and Mr Justice Crane (I will paraphrase, but have included a copy of the judgment's relevant sections 62 and 63):

62."We should recognise a hierarchy of Acts of Parliament: as it were 'ordinary' statutes and 'constitutional statutes.' The special status of constitutional statutes follows the special status of constitutional rights. Examples are the ... Bill of Rights 1689 ... 63. Ordinary statutes may be impliedly repealed. Constitutional statutes may not…"

I am not aware that the Taxes Management act 1970 makes express reference to repealing the Bill of Rights Act 1689.

Therefore, it would appear that HM Revenue & Customs and its agents have no lawful authority to demand money for an alleged infringement that has not been dealt with by a Court of Law. If you wish to proceed against me, please refer the matter to a Court of Law in an orderly fashion. Otherwise, the forfeit demanded of me is illegal and void.

Please also confirm to me in writing that you have advised the relevant officers of the HM Revenue & Customs that they are acting illegally by attempting to claim powers which are forbidden to them, and that all issuing of penalties is being done only after conviction by a Court of Law.

Yours sincerely, etc

1. Photocopy of Late Tax Return: Penalty Noitice
2. Extract of the Bill of Rights Act 1689
3. Extract of Metric Martyrs Judgment, sections 62 and 63.


An Act Declaring the Rights and Liberties of the Subject and Settling the Succession of the Crown


And thereupon the said Lords Spiritual and Temporal and Commons, pursuant to their respective letters and elections, being now assembled in a full and free representative of this nation, taking into their most serious consideration the best means for attaining the ends aforesaid, do in the first place (as their ancestors in like case have usually done) for the vindicating and asserting their ancient rights and liberties declare:

That the pretended power of suspending the laws or the execution of laws by regal authority without consent of Parliament is illegal;
That the pretended power of dispensing with laws or the execution of laws by regal authority, as it hath been assumed and exercised of late, is illegal;
That the commission for erecting the late Court of Commissioners for Ecclesiastical Causes, and all other commissions and courts of like nature, are illegal and pernicious;
That levying money for or to the use of the Crown by pretence of prerogative, without grant of Parliament, for longer time, or in other manner than the same is or shall be granted, is illegal;
That it is the right of the subjects to petition the king, and all commitments and prosecutions for such petitioning are illegal;
That the raising or keeping a standing army within the kingdom in time of peace, unless it be with consent of Parliament, is against law;
That the subjects which are Protestants may have arms for their defence suitable to their conditions and as allowed by law;
That election of members of Parliament ought to be free;
That the freedom of speech and debates or proceedings in Parliament ought not to be impeached or questioned in any court or place out of Parliament;
That excessive bail ought not to be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted;
That jurors ought to be duly impanelled and returned, and jurors which pass upon men in trials for high treason ought to be freeholders;
That all grants and promises of fines and forfeitures of particular persons before conviction are illegal and void;
And that for redress of all grievances, and for the amending, strengthening and preserving of the laws, Parliaments ought to be held frequently.

Thoburn v Sunderland City Council [2002] EWHC 195 (Admin), [2003] QB 151 ("Metric Martyrs" ruling) 18 Feb 2002 [Extract]

62 Where does this leave the constitutional position which I have stated? Mr Shrimpton would say that Factortame (No 1) was wrongly decided; and since the point was not argued, there is scope, within the limits of our law of precedent, to depart from it and to hold that implied repeal may bite on the ECA as readily as upon any other statute. I think that would be a wrong turning. My reasons are these. In the present state of its maturity the common law has come to recognise that there exist rights which should properly be classified as constitutional or fundamental: see for example such cases as Simms [2000] 2 AC 115 per Lord Hoffmann at 131, Pierson v Secretary of State [1998] AC 539, Leech [1994] QB 198, Derbyshire County Council v Times Newspapers Ltd. [1993] AC 534, and Witham [1998] QB 575. And from this a further insight follows. We should recognise a hierarchy of Acts of Parliament: as it were "ordinary" statutes and "constitutional" statutes. The two categories must be distinguished on a principled basis. In my opinion a constitutional statute is one which (a) conditions the legal relationship between citizen and State in some general, overarching manner, or (b) enlarges or diminishes the scope of what we would now regard as fundamental constitutional rights. (a) and (b) are of necessity closely related: it is difficult to think of an instance of (a) that is not also an instance of (b). The special status of constitutional statutes follows the special status of constitutional rights. Examples are the Magna Carta, the Bill of Rights 1689, the Act of Union, the Reform Acts which distributed and enlarged the franchise, the HRA, the Scotland Act 1998 and the Government of Wales Act 1998. The ECA clearly belongs in this family. It incorporated the whole corpus of substantive Community rights and obligations, and gave overriding domestic effect to the judicial and administrative machinery of Community law. It may be there has never been a statute having such profound effects on so many dimensions of our daily lives. The ECA is, by force of the common law, a constitutional statute.

63 Ordinary statutes may be impliedly repealed. Constitutional statutes may not. For the repeal of a constitutional Act or the abrogation of a fundamental right to be effected by statute, the court would apply this test: is it shown that the legislature's actual – not imputed, constructive or presumed – intention was to effect the repeal or abrogation? I think the test could only be met by express words in the later statute, or by words so specific that the inference of an actual determination to effect the result contended for was irresistible. The ordinary rule of implied repeal does not satisfy this test. Accordingly, it has no application to constitutional statutes. I should add that in my judgment general words could not be supplemented, so as to effect a repeal or significant amendment to a constitutional statute, by reference to what was said in Parliament by the minister promoting the Bill pursuant to Pepper v Hart [1993] AC 593. A constitutional statute can only be repealed, or amended in a way which significantly affects its provisions touching fundamental rights or otherwise the relation between citizen and State, by unambiguous words on the face of the later statute. 64 This development of the common law regarding constitutional rights, and as I would say constitutional statutes, is highly beneficial. It gives us most of the benefits of a written constitution, in which fundamental rights are accorded special respect. But it preserves the sovereignty of the legislature and the flexibility of our uncodified constitution. It accepts the relation between legislative supremacy and fundamental rights is not fixed or brittle: rather the courts (in interpreting statutes, and now, applying the HRA) will pay more or less deference to the legislature, or other public decision-maker, according to the subject in hand. Nothing is plainer than that this benign development involves, as I have said, the recognition of the ECA as a constitutional statute.


Aye right. You can pay £100 now without having your day in court, or you can have your day in court and pay an unlimited fine plus probably spend a few days or weeks in clink as well. Think think, it's a hard choice.

And in the meantime they might just break your door down and take what they want - remember Revenue is now part of Customs and have inherited the latter's scary powers.

After you mate.

Been there, had that problem. Provided you have a certificate of posting, you'll be fine 9pun intended).

If your accountant sent it in late, make him pay the penalty.

If you're getting your accountant to argue this out, won't it cost much more than the £100?

Any update yet ? I bet they will not answer you
and if they do they will not mention the 1689 act

Just to let you know, I had supposedly signed an election form in 1991 with the activation date for ICTA section 154(2) apply dated 1989, this situation would have been impossible to have been so, because my wife also supposedly had signed the same election form to bring change within a partnership which had not been set up until 1991, therefore how would or could the revenue take back taxes? please let me know what you think?

Nice try. They have passed the bill so late return automatically means you are convicted.

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