Tax investigations by officers of HMRC can be very intrusive. The pressure on individuals running businesses can be enormous. During this important and very difficult time it’s critical you have a lawyer by your side with sufficient experience to help you navigate your way through the investigation. The use of diplomacy, tact and a well planned strategy is critical. I have a great deal of experience in this area and have achieved a very high level of success to date.
After an investigation, if HMRC decides not to prosecute due to insufficient prospect of conviction, they may consider an alternative method of dealing with a case and decide to impose a penalty for unpaid tax. Very often this results in a dispute as to whether tax was owed in the first place, and if so, how much? These disputes often end up in the Tax Tribunals.
Most direct tax and indirect tax appeals are now heard by the First-Tier Tribunal (Tax Chamber), with a right of appeal (with permission) to the Upper Tribunal. Tax Tribunals are formal with greater requirements placed on the submission and presentation of evidence and strict time deadlines that must be met. It is a litigious process and because of that HMRC uses dedicated Advocacy Units to handle Tax Tribunal hearings. If HMRC is engaging its own specialists, so should you. Before an appeal can be submitted to the Tribunal Service, you must first have a written appealable decision from HMRC with which you disagree.
I have extensive experience in assisting clients in dispute with HMRC. I know how best to potentially challenge HMRC’s decision as part of a ‘review’, what the prospects of success are at Tribunal and how best to prepare any case for Tribunal hearing. I will present you with all available options and what the consequences of taking each option will be to allow you to formulate and agree an overall strategy.
As part of the appeal process, you have a statutory right to an independent internal HMRC ‘review’ of the case by someone outside of the line-management chain of the HMRC Case Officer. HMRC must take account of any representations made by you as part of a review. Consequently, it is the perfect time to obtain a second opinion from a tax litigation specialist. A fresh pair of eyes and a different approach often helps sway the outcome of the review. This means that potentially expensive litigation can be avoided.
In the first instance I will attempt to settle the case without litigation. Where litigation before the Tribunal cannot be avoided my service would include:
- Liaising with HMRC and the Tribunal Service throughout the appeal process;
- Representation at any pre-hearings before the Tax Tribunal;
- Handling the Directions issued by the Tax Tribunal;
- Collation and preparation on the documents on which our case relies;
- Interrogating HMRC’s Statement of Case;
- If appropriate, taking and preparing Witness Statements;
- Preparing court bundles for the Tax Tribunal; and
- Attendance at the Tribunal Hearing.
Putting it simply, I will provide a discreet and comprehensive service that is tailored to meet your unique needs and protect your interests.