Daly, Tax Authority Advice and the Public (Hart, 2020)

Something more than filial pride prompts me to recommend Stephen Daly, Tax Authority Advice and the Public (Hart, 2020). This is a fine book about the application of public law principles to the provision of advice by the UK tax authorities (but whose lessons are generalizable to other jurisdictions). Tax authority “advice” takes various forms, typically soft law instruments of one type or another which increasingly supplant even the ‘hard’ law of statute or regulation. These forms are multifarious and their legal consequences are often uncertain. Dr Daly does an excellent job of mapping the morass and suggesting a principled framework for navigating it in the future.

Here is the abstract:

There is now almost universal acceptance that tax law is overly complex and indeterminate; and yet, there has to date been no comprehensive assessment of the role of the tax authority in the current arrangement. If the legislation and case law offer few immediate answers to the taxpayer, then the role of Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs (HMRC) in advising taxpayers becomes more apparent.

This monograph contends that the provision of advice by HMRC is desirable by virtue of the rule of law and it follows that any such advice should be correct, clear, accessible and reliable. Additionally, there should exist some means of scrutinising the advice in order to check that it satisfies these criteria.

Tax Authority Advice and the Public explores this view of HMRC’s role in tax collection. It explains the deficiencies in the current system in this light, highlighting the pitfalls for taxpayers and practitioners as well as the potential remedies. Finally, the book assesses potential reforms which could be adopted in order to alleviate existing problems.

A timely and ambitious work, this book is essential reading for practitioners and academics interested in the interaction between tax administration and public law.

And here is the Table of Contents:

1. Introduction
I. Introduction
II. Background
III. Justification for Study
IV. Book Outline
V. Conclusion
2. What is HMRC Advice?
I. Introduction
II. Individual Advice
III. General Advice
IV. Conclusion
3. The Role of HMRC Advice
I. Introduction
II. Understanding HMRC’s Role
III. The Desirability of HMRC Advice
IV. A Normative Framework for HMRC Advice
V. Conclusion
4. Problems with Advice
I. Introduction
II. Correctness
III. Clarity
IV. Accessibility
V. Conclusion
5. Scrutiny
I. Introduction
II. Parliamentary Scrutiny
III. The Adjudicator and Ombudsman
IV. The Tribunals and Courts
V. Taxpayers and Representative Groups
VI. Conclusion
6. Remedies
I. Introduction
II. Public Law
III. Private Law
IV. Non-court Remedies
V. Conclusion
7. Reforms
I. Introduction
II. Binding Rulings
III. Proposals in Respect of Individual and General Advice
IV. Conclusion
8. Conclusion

You can order the book here.

I am currently reading de Cogan, Tax Law, State-Building and the Constitution (Hart, 2020), which is another important contribution to the ‘tax law as public law’ genre.

This content has been updated on November 16, 2021 at 14:27.