Save ESC A19

 In ESC A19, HMRC Investigation

What is it? 

It’s a concession.

Oh, like popcorn at the cinema? 

No! It’s an Extra Statutory Concession (ESC).

Well what’s that then?

It’s a relaxation of the law.

English please! 

OK. In the words of HMRC, a “Extra Statutory Concession [ESC] is a relaxation which gives taxpayers a reduction in tax liability to which they would not be entitled under the strict letter of the law.” You can see the document this quote comes from here.

Oh right, so it’s saying that HMRC can bend the letter of the law?

Exactly, and not just letters but whole words too!

Stop trying to be funny. 

Sorry, yes HMRC use concessions to take the long reasonable view and a pragmatic approach.


I know.

OK. I now understand what a Concession is, so whats the A19 bit when it’s at home?

It’s just one sentence in this document,  “A19. Arrears of tax arising through official error.”

You are f*****g  joking, so you are telling me that if HMRC makes the mistake – and it’s clearly their “official” error and you haven’t been trying to fiddle things or anything, then you don’t have to pay them back?

That’s exactly what I’m saying, here have a look at this flowchart

The Flowchart now withdrawn from the HMRC website


Holy Macaroni!?!

I know!

But don’t HMRC make mistakes all the time?

They do.

So are they losing billions in revenue through their incompetence?


So what would be the best thing to do then? A) become more competent or B) abolish the Concession?

Da-daaaa! Now you can see where we are going with this! But here’s the news, leading tax barrister and writer Keith Gordon has started an online petition to preserve Extra Statutory Concession A19 (ESC A19) as it is.

Ooooooh so the great and the good are steping up to the Bar on this one.

They are, well he is. And right unpopular this is going to make him with HMRC I can tell you. It’s a very bold move.

So where can I sign the petition? 

I thought you would never ask! Click Here.

Apologies to Pass Notes


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