Our lawyers have in depth knowledge and experience of dealing with HMRC, successfully negotiating outcomes and helping clients avoid bad situations with HMRC penalties potentially becoming worse.
Lawyers for tax appeals to HMRC
If you decide to challenge HMRC’s assessment or penalty, then you will need to prepare a detailed notice to appeal the decision to HMRC.
How to deal with a Notice of Appeal to HMRC
You may feel aggrieved when you get an HMRC penalty. The first step we advise is take a step back and consider carefully your options, on a cost-benefit, evidential and tactical basis. As with all forms of dispute, it is possible to make a bad situation worse.
After carefully considering the detail of the penalty letter you receive from HMRC, if you do decide to appeal you need to prepare a detailed, formal Notice of Appeal.
If you need advice or assistance in preparing the very important Notice of appeal, we can help with the following types of appeal :
- VAT penalty appeals
- Corporation Tax penalty appeals
- An adverse finding from HMRC in relation to claimed tax relief
- Where HMRC demand business records without good reasons and outside of powers to request information.
How to prepare a Notice of Appeal to HMRC
Notice to appeal the decision by HMRC needs to be carefully considered and carefully drafted. It is essential to act rapidly and get advice quickly as the appeal notice must be received by HMRC within 30 days
Inaccurate corporation tax filings
Penalties for inaccurate corporation tax submissions and tax calculations can be severe, ranging form a penalty and can be as high as an additional amount between 30% and 100% of the amount HMRC determine is already underpaid. Penalties depend on whether HMRC claim that the company has acted deliberately or not and also whether, if the information provided or not provided to VAT was deliberately incorrect or missed out, whether the concealment was intentional or not.
Common reasons for receiving a VAT penalty from HMRC include :
- not keeping VAT records
- late payment penalties
- failure to change your VAT status and charge VAT when your business turnover goes above the current threshold where a business must register and charge VAT.
- penalties for deliberate evasion of VAT.
VAT evasion and complex VAT fraud has been a major issue for HMRC in recent years and they tend to be even tougher where they suspect a deliberate plan to exploit the system. So, whilst there is still scope to appeal against an HMRC VAT decision based on genuine mistake or reasonable excuse, this will usually only be advisable, if at all, if the sum claimed as underpaid is fairly low.
It is important to understand that VAT evasion and/or fraud can constitute criminal activity and can potentially, in ten case of a limited company, result in the company directors being personally liable. In dealing with HMRC in relation to VAT disputes, good advice is highly advisable. HMRC will often be more aggressive in legal disputes over VAT than with other taxes.
What happens after you submit an HMRC notice to appeal?
After submitting a formal notice of appeal to HMRC, they will then have 30 days to either accept the appeal, reject it or agree to review it again, which will normally involve the review being by a different set of HMRC inspectors. If HMRC reject the appeal, the onus is then on the tax payer to decide whether or not to take the matter to the Tax Tribunal.
An additional and common option is for there to be a degree of negotiation with HMRC. This is where real value can be provided by lawyers who have experience in negotiating with HMRC. Experience in this situation means putting together good arguments and evidence, honed negotiation skills and the experience of having negotiated with HMRC many times before which often means and understanding of which types of disputes the HMRC will fight hard and which they would rather compromise on.
Alternative Dispute Resolution during a tax appeal
It often comes a surprise to our tax appeal and dispute clients that ADR, otherwise known as mediation is possible in disputes with HMRC. One of the main advantages of mediation is to understand better the areas of dispute and to try and prevent positions becoming more entrenched which can tend to happen as more time, money is spent going down the formal Tax Tribunal route. Another main advantage is that whilst the process is controlled in a formal sense by an independent mediator the outcome is not binding.
Solicitors to advise and assist with HMRC appeals
Gannons have the specialist experience and skills to assist in the formal process of appealing to HMRC, dealing with an appeal to the Tax Tribunal and also negotiating the best available resolution with HMRC. Contact us to discuss your issue confidentially and to find out more about our expertise.
Catherine is well known for turning complex problems into solutions. No case is ever easy but she will find a way. In her spare time she runs Gannons a very successful law firm.