Alternative Dispute Resolution
Our tax accountants can help you resolve disputes with HMRC, present your case with facts, and achieve positive results.
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The Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) process was created to help resolve tax disputes- with a third-party mediator, otherwise commonly referred to as an Arbitration process. It focuses on providing resolutions to tax disputes between the taxpayer and HMRC, using a structured process, saving both parties time and money. It is open for all taxpayers, whether they are individuals or companies. Some of the benefits derived through this process include gaining a better understanding of the other side’s argument. A structured process enables resolutions to be reached in a shorter period, and confidentiality is increased because no public court hearings occur. When the outcome of the dispute resolution is not successful, it can help to clarify the issues for the next stage, which may include Statutory Review or a tribunal hearing.
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Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) aims to resolve tax disputes before reaching the tribunal stage. It involves an independent review of the case by an HMRC facilitator who will mediate and propose a settlement between you and HMRC. If both parties accept it can provide a quicker, cheaper resolution.
Most tax disagreements including income tax, capital gains tax, corporation tax, VAT, inheritance tax and employment taxes can potentially go through ADR, subject to HMRC agreeing it’s suitable. The exception is tax fraud cases.
ADR can provide faster resolution, typically within 3 months and without the stresses of a tribunal. It’s also a cost-effective option as you avoid excessive legal costs associated with court appeals. And it allows disputes to be settled confidentially out of court.
Yes, you can request ADR yourself or respond positively if HMRC suggests it. Write to HMRC formally seeking mediation. If agreed, an independent facilitator will be appointed to discuss the process. Both parties must consent for ADR to go ahead.
No, if either you or HMRC do not accept the settlement terms proposed by the independent facilitator, you still retain the option to progress the tax dispute to tribunal instead. ADR is voluntary.
There’s less certainty of outcome compared to a legally binding tribunal decision. The mediator’s proposal is non-binding. Settlements often involve compromise so you may not get the ideal resolution sought. Legal input can still be helpful during ADR.
Your accountant may have included some normal tax provisions. If not you may be able to make adjustments in your current financial year. If you are loosing any tax reliefs, you may need to amend accounts and resubmit to HMRC and companies house.
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