Regina on the Application of Wilkinson v The Commissioners of Inland Revenue: CA 18 Jun 2003

The claimant had not received the same tax allowance following his wife’s death as would have been received by a woman surviving her husband. That law had been declared incompatible with Human Rtights law as discriminatory, but the respondent refused to make good any claim which had not been originally pursued to the European Court, since there was no obligation, the case having been a friendly settlement not creating an obligation, and saying that primary legislation (s262) required them not to make a payment. One of the primary tasks of the Commissioners is to recover those taxes which Parliament has decreed shall be paid. Section 1 of the 1970 Act permits them to do this pragmatically with regard to principles of good management. Concessions can be made where those will facilitate the overall task of tax collection. Nevertheless Parliament did not intend the benefit to be available to men, and it was outside the scope of a concession to allow it. A declaration of incompatibility was made.


Lord Justice Mantell Lord Justice Rix Lord Phillips Of Worth Matravers, Mr


[2003] EWCA Civ 814, Times 28-Jun-2003, 2002/0648, Gazette 04-Sep-2003, [2003] 1 WLR 2683




Human Rights Act 1998 4, Income and Corporation Taxes Act 1988 262, Taxes Management Act 1970 1(1)


England and Wales


Appeal fromWilkinson v Commissioners of Inland Revenue Admn 14-Feb-2002
The case concerned the differential tax treatment between men and women, which granted to widows a tax allowance that was not granted to widowers.
Held: The court made a ‘declaration of incompatibility’ pursuant to section 4. 1(1) of the TMA . .
CitedAbdulaziz etc v The United Kingdom ECHR 28-May-1985
Three women, all lawfully settled in the UK, had married third-country nationals but, at first, the Secretary of State had refused permission for their husbands to remain with them, or join them, in the UK.
Held: The refusals of permission had . .
CitedFielding v The United Kingdom ECHR 29-Jan-2002
Hudoc Judgment (Struck out of the list) Struck out of the list (friendly settlement)
The claimant’s wife had died. He sought the benefits, including tax allowances, which would have been paid to him had he . .
CitedBates v Inland Revenue Commissioners HL 1968
Section 402, on its plain meaning, produced results in some cases which were ‘monstrous’ and which Parliament can never have intended. The Commissioners had not sought to amend the legislation, but realising the monstrous result of giving effect to . .
CitedVestey v Inland Revenue Commissioners (No 2) ChD 1979
The Commissioners of Inland Revenue do not have, any more than does any other emanation of the Crown, any power to suspend or dispense with laws. ‘It is at this point that there arises what Mr Potter, for the taxpayers, has denominated as a serious . .
CitedVestey v Inland Revenue Commissioners ChD 1979
The case concerned section 478, which had monstrous and unintended results, if applied in accordance with its natural meaning. The Commissioners did not seek to apply the section in a manner which produced such results. The court held: ‘One should . .
CitedAbsolom v Talbot 1943
Scott LJ said: ‘No judicial countenance can or ought to be given in matters of taxation to any system of extra-legal concessions.’ . .
CitedRegina v Inland Revenue Commissioners, ex parte the National Federation of Self-Employed and Small Businesses Ltd HL 9-Apr-1981
Limitations on HMRC discretion on investigation
The Commissioners had been concerned at tax evasion of up to 1 million pounds a year by casual workers employed in Fleet Street. They agreed with the employers and unions to collect tax in the future, but that they would not pursue those who had . .
CitedBritish Sky Broadcasting Group Plc v Commissioners of Customs and Excise Admn 23-Feb-2001
The Commissioners are under a common law duty to treat taxpayers fairly, and not to discriminate without justification between taxpayers. . .
CitedRegina v Commissioners of Inland Revenue, ex parte Unilever plc CA 1996
The Revenue had refused to exercise a discretion in favour of the taxpayer in the same form it had granted for over twenty years. The taxpayer complained that this was unfair.
Held: The new approach to late applications, brought in without any . .

Cited by:

Appeal fromWilkinson, Regina (on the Application Of) v Inland Revenue HL 5-May-2005
The claimant said that the widows’ bereavement tax allowance available to a wife surviving her husband should be available to a man also if it was not to be discriminatory.
Held: Similar claims had been taken before the Human Rights Act to the . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Income Tax, Discrimination, Taxes Management, Human Rights

Updated: 07 June 2022; Ref: scu.183699