Our approach

HMRC’s formal powers to request information from taxpayers and third parties, and then 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 and their advisors.

A formal appeals process exists to allow taxpayers to challenge decisions made by HMRC. Menzies offer an independent and honest view of the prospects of any appeal being successful and can offer expert guidance and advice throughout.

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 responsees 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.

Our services

The first stage in the appeal process is normally 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 review stage so it is important to approach the process correctly and with a positive mindset. As a result of Menzies’ intervention in cases, we have seen many HMRC decisions go no further than this in the appeal process.

Where a dispute cannot be resolved by agreement with HMRC at the review stage, then Menzies can advise on appeals proceeding to the Tax Tribunal and assist clients who need to appoint Tax Counsel (where appropriate to do so) and provide ongoing support throughout the litigation process.

One other method of resolving disputes which the Menzies team uses is through HMRC’s Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) process. The team utilises ADR to resolve complex cases, with the aim of avoiding litigation wherever possible. Our experience of ADR is overwhelmingly positive, but it is important that ADR is only used in the right cases.