Disputes can occur after an appealable decision from HMRC. This could be when HMRC raises an assessment, concludes an enquiry or issues a penalty decision. There are various ways to manage these disputes, and each case should be critically considered to determine the best way forward.
Independent internal review
An independent review is often the first step in the dispute process. It involves a review of the case by an HMRC officer who was not previously involved in the disputed action. This review determines whether the decision was made in line with the legislation and HMRC guidance.
HMRC must respond to a request for an internal review within strict time limits, so this can be a fairly quick way of reaching a resolution.
Alternative Dispute Resolution
Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) can be a favourable alternative for both HMRC and the taxpayer to reach or negotiate a resolution, especially in long-running cases. Under ADR, an impartial facilitator seeks to help both parties reach a solution.
You may wish to consider using ADR instead of going through the tribunal, if you have been unable to settle your HMRC dispute through negotiation on your own.
There are several advantages of using ADR. It can be time efficient and usually costs less than the normal litigation process. Furthermore, matters discussed are confidential, and it can allow the taxpayer and adviser to retain control. It can also be used in conjunction with an application to the tribunal.
Appeals and litigation support
Not all disputes with HMRC can be resolved through the independent review or ADR process. In some cases, it may be necessary to take an appeal to the First-tier Tax Tribunal.
The tribunal is independent of HMRC. It judges whether the appeal should be upheld or rejected based on the facts of the case and the taxpayer’s and HMRC’s legal arguments.
An appeal to the tribunal can be a long and expensive process, with no guarantee of success. It is important to carefully consider the advantages and disadvantages of doing so before going ahead – which we can help you do.
How we can help
Our team includes chartered tax advisers and fully qualified HM Inspectors of Taxes, who have significant experience in dealing with HMRC disputes. We can advise you on your best possible outcomes and the most suitable route to take. We will also guide you through the entire process, including acting on your behalf during negotiations.