HMRC’s extensive powers to request information from taxpayers and third parties; assess amounts to tax they believe to be due and levy penalties based on their subjective view of an issue unsurprisingly leads to disagreements with taxpayers.
What is the appeals process?
A formal appeals process exists to allow taxpayers to challenge decisions made by HMRC. Menzies offer an independent and honest view on the prospects of any appeal being successful and can offer expert guidance and advice throughout the process.
The first stage in the appeal process is an internal review led by HMRC officers not previously involved in the decision-making process. In our experience many decisions are reversed or varied at the review stage so it is important to approach the process with a positive mindset.
Where a dispute cannot be resolved by agreement with HMRC then Menzies can advise on appeals proceeding to the Tax Tribunal and can advise clients who wish to appoint Tax Counsel (where appropriate to do so) providing support to the client throughout the litigation process.
Taking the correct approach
There are relatively short deadlines to comply with throughout the appeals process and if these are missed then the process can become far more difficult. As such our approach is to be proactive; respond to deadlines quickly without overlooking the careful consideration our responses require; and do everything within our power to settle cases favourably for our clients.
Often overlooked are the strict deadlines and statutory requirements which apply equally to HMRC. If not complied with then HMRC’s decision can be overturned if this is identified early enough. As such it follows that above a certain threshold, which will vary in each case, it is appropriate to instruct an experienced Tax Disputes specialist to consider all the facts and confirm whether an appeal against an HMRC decision should be pursued.
The team at Menzies have experience of advising clients who need to make a formal complaint against HMRC, advising them through the complaints process and where necessary ultimately take their complaint to the Adjudicators Office.