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Discovery assessment changes

Source: HM Revenue & Customs | | 04/11/2021

HMRC has taken action to ensure that discovery assessments relating to certain aspects of the High Income Child Benefit Charge (HICBC), Gift Aid Donations and different pension charges act as intended.

According to HMRC, this new measure does not change this policy but makes a technical point to clarify the law to provide legal certainty and maintain the status quo. The change applies both retrospectively and prospectively and does not impose any additional liability.

A recent Upper Tribunal case found that HMRC did not have the power to recover an individual’s HICBC by issuing a discovery assessment. HMRC is appealing the decision to the Court of Appeal. However, in advance of that appeal, this new measure will provide certainty that HMRC may recover HICBC through the issue of a discovery assessment.

The legislation will not apply retrospectively to those individuals who previously received a discovery assessment and who appealed on or before 30 June 2021, the date at which the Upper Tribunal handed down its decision in the relevant case. However, HMRC will be hoping to win their Court of Appeal case which would make this a moot point.


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