Van Boeckel v Customs and Excise Commissioners: 1981

The court explained the meaning of the requirement that a tax assessment made by the Commissioners should be the ‘best of their judgment’: ‘the Tribunal should not treat an assessment as invalid merely because they disagree as to how the judgment should have been exercised. A much stronger finding is required: for example, that the assessment has been reached ‘dishonestly or vindictively or capriciously’; or is a ‘spurious estimate or guess in which all elements of judgment are missing’; or is ‘wholly unreasonable’. In substance those tests are indistinguishable from the familiar Wednesbury principles ([1948] 1 KB 223). Short of such a finding, there is no justification for setting aside the assessment.’ and ‘What the words ‘best of their judgment’ envisage, in my view, is that the Commissioners will fairly consider all material placed before them and, on that material, come to a decision which is one which is reasonable and not arbitrary as to the amount of tax which is due. As long as there is some material on which the Commissioners can reasonably act then they are not required to carry out investigations which may or may not result in further material being placed before them’


Woolf J


[1981] STC 290


England and Wales

Cited by:

CitedRahman v Commissioners of Customs and Excise CA 20-Dec-2002
The taxpayer appealed aganst rejection of his objection to an assessment to VAT . .
CitedPegasus Birds Ltd v Commissioners of HM Customs and Excise CA 27-Jul-2004
The taxpayer complained that the assessment imposed by the Commissioners was wholly unreasonable, and void. The tribunal had found the assessment wholly unreasonable, but the High Court had allowed the Commissioners’ appeal.
Held: There was no . .
CitedCompany Registrations Online Ltd v Revenue and Customs VDT 7-Aug-2008
VDT ASSESSMENT – best judgment – correctness of assessments accepted – challenge to the reasonableness of commissioners in raising an assessment – appeal dismissed. . .
CitedLok v Revenue and Customs FTTTx 14-Feb-2017
(Vat – Assessments : Best Judgment) VALUE ADDED TAX – Takeaway business – Assessed as liable for registration but no longer liable – Assessment raised – Whether assessment to best judgment? – Yes – Whether assessment should be adjusted? – No – . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Taxes Management

Updated: 30 April 2022; Ref: scu.200236