The concept of 'staleness' in the context of discovery assessments (assessments issued to taxpayers by HMRC outside of any statutory enquiry), gathered momentum following the Upper Tribunal’s decision in Charlton and others v HMRC [2011] UKFTT 467 (TC). As 'discovery' is only relevant to returns and tax years where HMRC has not opened a statutory enquiry, many commentators considered that the concept provided a degree of procedural fairness in the discovery assessment process, and that HMRC should not be permitted to delay issuing an assessment for a considerable period of time after making a discovery. As recently as February of this year, Judge Malek in the First-tier Tribunal (FTT) in Meh...

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