Regina v Inland Revenue Commissioners, Ex parte Woolwich Equitable Building Society: HL 25 Oct 1990

The society challenged the validity of transitional provisions in the 1986 regulations on the ground that they were ultra vires. The House considered the specific presumption against double taxation, and also a power in general terms to make regulations for the taxation of building society interest. The Society complained that the effect of the regulations was to make it subject to tax in respect of payments of interest which had already been taxed in a previous year and that the statute should not be construed as permitting such double taxation.
Held: The background to the enactment of the statute made it clear that this was exactly what Parliament had in mind. The suggested inhibition against cumulative taxation lies not in the words which Parliament has chosen to use but in certain well-established presumptions or principles – a presumption against double taxation, a presumption that income tax, being an annual tax, is payable only on income of a particular year and so on. But these are only presumptions. They are clearly rebuttable if sufficiently clear express words are used. But they can also be rebutted, as it seems to me, by circumstances surrounding the enactment of the particular legislation which lead to an inevitable inference that Parliament intended, in using the words that it did, that these presumptions or principles should not apply. A party who had made a payment to the Revenue pursuant to an unlawful demand was entitled as of right to a restitutionary remedy, regardless of whether in making the payment the payer was acting under any mistake of law.
Lord Oliver of Aylmerton, Lord Goff, Lord Browne-Wilkinson
[1990] 1 WLR 1400, [1990] UKHL TC – 63 – 589
Bailii
Income Tax (Building Societies) Regulations 1986
England and Wales
Citing:
See AlsoWoolwich Equitable Building Society v Inland Revenue Commissioners (2) HL 20-Jul-1992
The society had set out to assert that regulations were unlawful in creating a double taxation. It paid money on account of the tax demanded. It won and recovered the sums paid, but the revenue refused to pay any interest accrued on the sums paid. . .

Cited by:
CitedRegina v Central Valuation Officer and another ex parte Edison First Power Limited HL 10-Apr-2003
Powergen sold a property to Edison. Powergen paid rates under a separate statutory rating regime, and paid an additional thirteen million pounds under an apportionment. Edison later complained that in being rated itself, the authorities had . .
See AlsoWoolwich Equitable Building Society v Inland Revenue Commissioners (2) HL 20-Jul-1992
The society had set out to assert that regulations were unlawful in creating a double taxation. It paid money on account of the tax demanded. It won and recovered the sums paid, but the revenue refused to pay any interest accrued on the sums paid. . .
CitedKleinwort Benson Ltd v Lincoln City Council etc HL 29-Jul-1998
Right of Recovery of Money Paid under Mistake
Kleinwort Benson had made payments to a local authority under swap agreements which were thought to be legally enforceable when made. Subsequently, a decision of the House of Lords, (Hazell v. Hammersmith and Fulham) established that such swap . .
CitedSmithkline Beecham Plc Glaxosmithkline UK Ltd and Another v Apotex Europe Ltd and others (No 2) CA 23-May-2006
The parties to the action had given cross undertakings to support the grant of an interim injunction. A third party subsequently applied to be joined, and now sought to take advantage of the cross undertakings to claim the losses incurred through . .

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Updated: 15 February 2021; Ref: scu.182560