Taxpayers Behaving Badly? Making the Case for Anonymity Before a Tax Tribunal

 

In a fascinating case, a Tax Tribunal Judge has considered claims by the well-known actor Martin Clunes that his tax appeal in respect of his claims for the tax deductibility of cosmetic surgery should be heard in private to spare Mr Clunes’ blushes. The case reference is http://financeandtax.decisions.tribunals.gov.uk//judgmentfiles/j9665/TC05692.pdf and a full transcript can be found by following the link.

Broadly, Mr Clunes was seeking anonymity in an upcoming Tax Tribunal hearing on the basis that otherwise, to quote the Tribunal Judge, “he might become the target of mockery and jokes and, more importantly, his public perception, or what might be described as his celebrity persona, will be damaged”.

The Judge refused Mr Clunes application, commenting that whilst anybody having a case heard before a Tax Tribunal may prefer anonymity to prevent their friends and neighbours from hearing about their financial affairs, “….the public interest in the outcome of tax litigation, whether in the High Court or in this tribunal, outweighs the desire of the taxpayer for anonymity, and the inevitable resultant intrusion into matters which might otherwise remain confidential is the price which must be paid for open justice, however unpalatable the individual taxpayer might find it to be”.

It would therefore seem that at least in terms of tax matters, celebrities and us mere mortals are bound by the same rules!

The related appeal by Mr Clunes in respect of HMRC’s assertion that the costs of cosmetic surgery incurred by Mr Clunes were not an allowable deduction will be heard at a later date, and will be in of itself an interesting hearing. Watch this space for more details.