Lexicon Tax

Tax Appeals

Tax Appeals

Our founder has over 20 years’ experience working in HMRC as well as having professional tax qualifications. All of our staff have either HMRC or an accountancy background.

Where there is a disagreement or dispute with HMRC that remains unresolved, an appeal can be made with a Tax Tribunal which is an accessible route to resolve disputes.

When a decision is made by HMRC over an active compliance check or investigation, that decision is appealable. As a first step, it is recommended that you can request a formal review of HMRC’s decision which is conducted by a HMRC officer who is considered to be independent to the investigation. If after the internal review, you still disagree with the HMRC’s decision, you may escalate the dispute and lodge an appeal with the tribunal. Requesting a review is optional, and you may directly lodge your appeal with the tribunal without HMRC conducting a review.

Internal Reviews

A review of HMRC’s decision can either be offered by HMRC or requested by you. A review officer at HMRC, who is considered to be independent, will be allocated to review the matter following a request or acceptance of an offer of a review.

From our experience of dealing with HMRC disputes, it is important to know if and when a review should be requested. A request for a review should be made within 30 days of HMRC’s decision. Once requested, HMRC should complete their review within 45 days unless the review is complex.

The review officer will either uphold, vary or disagree with HMRC’s decision. If you still disagree with that decision, you have 30 days to lodge an appeal to the First Tier Tribunal.

First Tier Tribunal (Tax)

The First-Tier Tribunal is a court which deals with disputes between HMRC and taxpayers and/or their tax agent. The ‘judges’ are well qualified legally with a good understanding of taxes legislation. If it becomes necessary, these judges are helped by other knowledgeable members of the tribunal. These other members are also specialists in tax.

The procedures that are followed by the tribunal are significantly less formal and are much less complicated than in a court of law and are specifically made to ensure swift conclusion of any tax disputes between taxpayers and HMRC. Standing in front of the tribunal can be an intimidating idea to people unaccustomed to standing in front of a judge.

Clients can fight their case by themselves. However, we strongly advise that you ask for a professional to help represent you at the Tribunal. There are certain requirements and procedures as well as specified formats in which to present your case to the Tribunal.

We have extensive experience in being involved with cases at the Tribunal including when our ex HMRC staff represented HMRC during their tenure at the Tax Authorities. This experience means ex HMRC staff at Lexicon Tax have a unique and enhanced understanding of HMRC tactics and strategies. With our broad range of experience when it comes to tribunal disputes, we are preferably situated to win a positive outcome for our clients.

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)

Alternative Dispute Resolution is effectively a mediation service provided by HMRC to deal with Tax Disputes in a different way. The purpose of ADR is to avoid the need to go to the Tribunal if possible. HMRC has a dedicated team within its Appeals & Reviews (A&R) department which deals with ADR. Although the ADR mediators are part of HMRC, they usually take a very neutral approach to mediation.

We have found the mediation process highly useful and successful in resolving tax disputes with HMRC, helping reduce the uncertainty, stress and additional costs associated with taking the dispute to a Tribunal based litigation.

If you hit a brick wall dealing with the case worker/s or investigator/s and have reached a in-pass, you can apply for ADR.

ADR gives you the option of having someone independent mediate, who has not previously been involved in the tax dispute with you your tax agent/advisor and the HMRC persons dealing with your case.

The ADR person/s will act as a neutral mediator and as a third party to try and reach a common agreement. Just to be clear they will not take over the dispute, but will work with all parties to explore ways of resolving the dispute through meetings and teleconferences. They will help by focusing on resolving any tax risks or areas of contention by re-establishing focused dialogue.

You can also request under some circumstances to jointly pay for an independent professional mediator if HMRC agree.

At Lexicon Tax we have been involved with many successful ADR cases. We are happy to lead dialogue and discussions on behalf of you with HMRC or independent ADR mediators.

Need Some help?

Call us on 0114 4000192 for a non judgmental, discreet and free consultation to see how we can help with Internal Reviews, Tribunal Appeals or ADR mediation.