JJ Manangement Llp and Others, Regina (on The Application of) v Revenue and Customs and Another: Admn 25 Jul 2019

Challenge to the lawfulness of an investigation by HMRC of tax affairs relating to the claimant’s businesses in Europe. HMRC had been claiming a right to conduct an informal investigation using the 2005 Act. The taxpayer sought judicial review of their actions.
Held: The request for review was refused. The statute gave to the revenue functions including both to open an enquiry into a return under the 1970 Act during the enquiry window, and to check returns without opening a section 9A enquiry, even after the enquiry window had closed, to see if there was cause to make a discovery assessment. Such checks might include not only rereading the file but also undertaking investigations and enquiries to obtain more information to satisfy their interests.
HMRC’s functions include the collection of taxes, and collecting the correct amount of tax from taxpayers. Investigating whether a taxpayer has declared all his income and paid the correct amount of tax is necessary, expedient, incidental or conducive to the exercise of that function and is authorised by the powers in section 9 CRCA 2005. The use of such an ‘informal investigation’ was not inconsistent with the statutory scheme, but was consistent with it. The statutory scheme includes not only opening an enquiry into a return under section 9A TMA 1970 during the enquiry window, but also checking returns without opening a section 9A enquiry, including after the enquiry window has closed, with a view to ascertaining if there is ground to issue a discovery assessment, and that such checking can include not just rereading the file but carrying out investigations and enquiries to see if any further information can be obtained that sheds light on the question. Given that statutory scheme, there is nothing inconsistent in HMRC having power to ask a taxpayer for information and documents on a voluntary basis. It would be the very antithesis of good administration for an arm of the state to use compulsory powers as a first step in obtaining information from an individual, rather than resort to them only when all attempts to obtain the information voluntarily had run into the sand. As a matter of common sense, cooperation and collaboration facilitates the collection of the public revenue.
Judicial review in relation to a decision to investigate will only be justified in a wholly exceptional case, and the circumstances of this case did not meet that threshold, concluding, ‘there is nothing sufficiently egregious about the present case which would justify taking the wholly exceptional course of reviewing that decision’.


Nugee J


[2019] EWHC 2006 (Admin), [2020] 2 WLR 195, [2019] ACD 108, [2019] STC 1772, [2019] WLR(D) 493




Commissioners for Revenue and Customs Act 2005 9(1), Taxes Management Act 1970 29


England and Wales


CitedRegina v Panel of Takeovers and Mergers ex parte Fayed CA 1992
Steyn LJ said of the reviewability of decisions of the Director of Public Prosecutions: ‘. . it seems to me that, in the absence of evidence of fraud, corruption or mala fides, judicial review will not be allowed to probe its decision to charge . .

Cited by:

Appeal fromJJ Management Consulting Llp and Others v Revenue and Customs CA 22-Jun-2020
HMRC has power to conduct informal investigation
The taxpayer, resident here, but with substantial oversea business interests, challenged the conduct of an informal investigation of his businesses under the 2005 Act, saying that HMRC, as a creature of statute, are only permitted to do that which . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Taxes Management, Judicial Review

Updated: 09 December 2022; Ref: scu.640128