HMRC and Sippchoice Limited [2017] UKUT 0087 (TC)

1st March 2017

Sippchoice successfully defended an appeal by HMRC against the FTT’s decision, which was that Sippchoice, as pension scheme administrator, should not be liable to the pension scheme sanction charge because firstly, Sippchoice’s belief that investments made by it were not unauthorised payments was a reasonable belief, secondly, that in the circumstances it was just and reasonable for Sippchoice not to be liable to the charge, and thirdly that those two conditions continued to be met in relation to payments after a particular date when the circumstances changed.  Sippchoice therefore met the conditions in s.268(7) Finance Act 2004.  HMRC contended in the UT that the FTT had applied the wrong legal test as a result of the FTT having referred to Mobilx after it had made its findings and decision on reasonableness.  The UT found that the FTT had not so erred and that whether someone has behaved reasonably is largely a question of fact, which can only be overturned on appeal on Edwards v Bairstow grounds, but the FTT’s decision was itself within the bounds of reasonableness.  HMRC dropped their appeal against the second point during the hearing.


Rebecca Murray was acting for Sippchoice.

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Rebecca Murray