If you have a disagreement with the taxman over an assessment or a decision, there’s a new way of resolving it which could avoid you going through the Internal Review or formal appeal to the Tribunal processes. The Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) procedure is an alternative way of progressing tax disputes in compliance checks; particularly where you feel that the relationship with the tax inspector has broken down.
ADR involves a trained HMRC “facilitator”, acting as ring master. This “independent” facilitator works with the agent and the HMRC “case owner” to try to broker understanding and agreement between them: without a Tribunal hearing. The facilitator’s role is to: help all parties to obtain a shared and full understanding of the disputed facts and technical arguments; and ensure that there is proper communication between the parties – helping to explain what one or other side is trying to say to the other. The facilitator will not impose their views on either party and does not take over responsibility for the case. The decision on settling a case stays with you and the officer handling it.
What does this mean for me?
ADR can be useful in long-running disputes particularly where positions have become entrenched or you feel that you are going around in circles. The Alternative Dispute Resolution approach could: identify the areas of agreement and disagreement, allowing all parties to regain focus; reduce the areas of disagreement; clarify differences of opinion on technical issues; establish areas where more facts are required; and even where agreement is not reached then at least narrow the points in dispute in advance of formal litigation.
ADR can be used instead of, or in addition to, Internal Review and the Tribunal appeal process. The results are not binding; so you can continue your appeal if you are not happy with the outcome.
How can Lynam Tax Dispute Experts help me?
Although the Alternative Dispute Resolution process can be very helpful, the HMRC employed and trained “independent facilitator” is not there to advocate for you. For the best results in any compliance check or appeals process you need experts who can understand your case, and present it to HMRC in a compelling manner. That is no less true of the ADR process. For the best results in the Alternative Dispute Resolution process you should appoint a specialist to assist you. Lynam Tax Dispute Experts have scores of years’ experience in settling difficult and seemingly intractable cases with HMRC.
*Call today for an initial free, confidential, no obligation, discussion:
Paul Lynam: 0845 643 9997
or Andrew Nutbrown: 07718 778710