Can I apply for ADR after appealing to The Tax Tribunal?

Where a taxpayer would like to use the Alternative Dispute Resolution (“ADR”) process to resolve disputes with HMRC in a Tax Enquiry, then it is normal practice to apply for this before any appeals are made to the Tax Tribunal. However, the Tax Tribunal will allow people to apply for the ADR even after the full proceedings to move towards a tax tribunal hearing had commenced.

A so-called tax Dispute arises during a Tax Enquiry or Tax Compliance Check if you disagree with the HM Revenue and Customs Officer about: the reason they’ve asked you to do something; or their conclusions; or if you’re not sure about either of these. There are several ways that a Dispute can be resolved. One of these is the Alternative Dispute Resolution process.

ADR involves another HMRC officer who has not previously been involved in the Tax Investigation, and who has trained in mediation skills and techniques. Their role is to act as a neutral third party “mediator” or “facilitator”. – without forming a view on who is right or wrong. The mediator tries to help you (and your agent) and the HMRC officer resolve the Dispute together. They do not take over responsibility for the Dispute. If the mediation is not successful then the case is likely to proceed to a formal Appeal Hearing at the independent Tax Tribunal.

But the ADR process can also take place after the Appeal process has begun (as long as it has not been previously used). In those instances, it is first necessary to apply to HMRC to enter ADR. If they agree the Tribunal needs to be notified. The Tribunal will then place a “stay” – meaning the proceedings are temporarily put on hold. The Tribunal will normally “stay” the proceedings for 150 days: although this can be extended further on application to the Tribunal. However, once the Appeal process has progressed so far that a formal Hearing date has been set, then the Tribunal will normally only stay proceedings if the Hearing could still go ahead on the set date – should the ADR process not resolve the Dispute. If the dispute is not resolved, the Tribunal will hear and adjudicate the Appeal as normal.

Lynam Tax Comment
We have had varying reports and experiences about the usefulness of ADR: and particularly the impartiality (or lack thereof) of the HMRC facilitator. We believe that an experienced and skilled Tax Enquiry specialist will be able to resolve issues much quicker and more effectively than the ADR process. However, there are cases where the ADR process can be helpful. But, again, to get the most out of it you are best off having a skilled and experienced agent working for you.

How can Lynam Tax Dispute Specialists help me?
Lynam Tax Dispute Experts have a vast experience of resolving issues with HMRC. We are adept at addressing HMRC’s concerns and bringing long-running contentious cases to resolution – on optimum terms. We have honed these skills over our combined 90 years’ full-time experience of successfully handling tax Disputes.

Call today for a free initial consultation:
Paul Lynam: 0845 643 9997
Andrew Nutbrown: 0771 877 8710