Unresolved disagreements with HMRC cannot sometimes be avoided. When that happens, the Tax Tribunal is available to resolve those disputes.
Where a dispute over an HMRC decision cannot be resolved, the “formal” route for settlement becomes necessary.
Initially, you can ask for an internal review by HMRC, which will be condcuted by someone who is “independent” of the point at issue.
A review is either offered by HMRC or requested by you and will be undertaken by someone independent of the dispute. There are time limits for both sides in the review process, but you would normally expect the review to be finalised within the normal 45 day period unless your case is complicated.
If you do not agree with the results of the review then you can take the dispute forward, normally, to the First-Tier (Tax) Tribunal.
The First-Tier (Tax) Tribunal is a group wholly independent of HMRC and is used to settle disputes between taxpayer and HMRC that cannot be otherwise concluded. The Tribunal “Judges” are legally-qualified with tax understanding and the Judges are sometimes helped by tribunal members who are specialist non-legal but tax knowledgeable members of the panel.
Tribunal procedures are less complicated and more informal than Court procedures and are designed to speed resolution of disputes between HMRC and the public.
Preparations for and appearances in front of the Tribunal can be a daunting prospect for the uninitiated. Whilst you can take your dispute before the Tribunal personally, most advisors would recommend that you appoint an expert to help and to act on your behalf, both to prepare the matter and to take it in front of the Tribunal. With our extensive experience of Tribunal matters, we are ideally placed to secure a positive outcome.
Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) is a different way of dealing with a tax dispute with HMRC. It aims to help resolve disputes without the need for Tribunal action.
You can apply for ADR if dealings with HMRC have ground to a halt or are at an impasse.
ADR provides you with the option of having someone who has not been involved in your dispute to work with you, your advisor and the HMRC person dealing with your case.
The person leading the ADR acts as a neutral third party mediator. They do not take over the dispute, but they will work with you and your advisor to explore ways of resolving the dispute through meetings and telephone conversations. They help focus on the areas that need to be resolved and, if needed, help re-establish dialogue.
In some cases you can agree with HMRC to jointly pay for a professional independent mediator.
We are happy to help lead discussions and dialogue with ADR mediators, whether from within HMRC or outside.
How can we help?
We have been dealing with HMRC related troubles for over 50 years, having dealt with hundreds of cases both as former HMRC Investigators and assisting and supporting clients in our time in practice. Our clients tell us that they value our extensive knowledge and genuine “hands on” approach to any matter involving HMRC disputes and difficulties.
We operate nationally, or internationally, and are not tied to our desks. We believe in giving a no nonsense level of support with affordable fees and costs. Our pricing structure is affordable, and we will fixed budgets for our engagements avoiding the traditional open-ended, "on the clock" approach of larger firms and our competitors.
To discuss this with us on a non-judgmental, discrete and no cost basis call our helpline 0800 001 6686 or contact us today.
Gary Brothers and Mike Leigh are regular contributors to a number of professional forums. The current blogs are here, and our archived blogs can be found by checking on the link below.