TAX INVESTIGATION APPEALS TRIBUNAL
I cannot over emphasise the excellence of the tribunal system.
It does not charge a fee to consider cases, proceedings are informal
and the judges friendly and helpful. Tribunals are completely
independent of HMRC; the judiciary who run it come to objective
conclusions on the balance of probabilities, having regard to all
The taxpayer does not need to be in any way apprehensive or in
fear of tribunal.
Interaction with Tribunal
That tribunals are informal does not however detract from the fact
that they are very real courts of law! HMRC field, at the very least,
specialist staff who are trained in the production and presentation
of cases, and may even be formally trained and qualified legal advocates.
It is essential that the taxpayer's case is carefully prepared
and presented. Whilst we aim to achieve settlements with HMRC, we
are always mindful, in the conduct of a case, of the possible need
to go to tribunal. At every stage of working a case, from the first
day of accepting an instruction we work towards producing as complete
a picture as possible ongoing.
Additionally, on the day it is necessary to be fluid in approach,
and able to respond quickly to changing circumstances as HMRC present
evidence, and staff give testimony. The ability to robustly cross
examine HMRC's witnesses is essential. Since the inception of tribunal's
two tax chambers in 2009 I have presented large numbers of cases
throughout the UK with a very, very significant degree of success.
HMRC's approach is fairly standard, involving a challenge about
one or more points, and then awaiting the taxpayer's counter case.
We have rationalised the weaknesses of HMRC's cases into 4 primary
scenarios, and the examples that follow demonstrate the means of
dealing with those cases. Given that your time is probably limited
we have deleted much of the incidental material, but the principles
are hopefully clear.
1. A challenge about one defined area.
of Probabilities, Defeating One Hit Situations
2. HMRC's failure to understand the underlying ethos of the case
3. Lack of evidence put forward, & 4. A failure to pay attention
Lack of Evidence
Of course there are some situations which do not fall in specifically
with the foregoing. and are just generally contentious. They require
a different investigative approach involving a careful evaluation
of the factors, something in which I have been directly involved
for over 40 years. So there is just one further example.
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