Tax dispute resolution
Expert advice for businesses and individuals facing HMRC tax disputes and investigations
What is an HMRC tax investigation?
An HMRC tax investigation is a check into your personal or business tax affairs to confirm whether the correct amount of tax has been reported and paid. The frequency of these checks has increased in recent years due to greater Government funding, additional legislative powers and advancements in technology available to HMRC.
The nature of an HMRC tax investigation depends on the amount of tax at stake and the behaviour that has resulted in the potential loss of tax. HMRC has a wide range of powers available to carry out their enquiries including:
- Formal information and documentation requests
- Visiting business premises
- Issuing assessments for additional tax, interest and penalties
How can I resolve a tax dispute?
Tax disputes can be resolved by directly contacting and engaging with HMRC to work through the areas of disagreement on your case. This can involve further discussions with HMRC to ascertain all relevant facts and ensure the correct technical treatment is applied.
If you become aware that you may not have paid the correct amount of tax, the best approach is to make a voluntary disclosure to tell HMRC before they come to you, as they may reduce the penalty payable.
Although you can deal with HMRC yourself, without specialist knowledge, it can be overwhelming and time-consuming to work out the best approach to contacting HMRC or responding to their correspondence. Our team has many years of experience in dealing with contentious tax disputes and disclosures for both businesses and individuals. Having skilled tax investigation specialists on your side is central to navigating the complex rules and protecting your interests.
How we can help you with tax investigations
Looking after your needs
Dealing with a tax dispute can be stressful, costly and time-consuming. Our multi-disciplinary team will listen to your tax problem and create a strategy focused on resolving your dispute as efficiently as possible. A tax problem can arise for various reasons and a key part of our service is to convey all of the necessary details to HMRC through effective communications. We are non-judgemental and approach all cases with discretion and confidentiality. Our recommended strategies are bespoke to your specific tax problem and individual needs.
Our team comprises of chartered tax advisers, trust and estate practitioners (TEP) and ex-HMRC qualified inspectors. We also work with other tax specialists within the business to deliver the right strategy for you.
For more information on how we can help, contact one of our experts today.
Frequently asked questions about tax dispute resolution
I have a dispute with HMRC. What should I do next?
The best approach will depend on the type of dispute you have with HMRC and your specific circumstances. But whether you need to respond to an initial letter from HMRC, a formal information request or are trying to resolve a long-running investigation, it is generally advisable to engage proactively and promptly with HMRC. An enquiry, investigation or dispute can require you to adhere to strict timeframes. If these are missed, it can adversely impact your case and lead to further escalation. Cooperating with HMRC’s checks can also help to mitigate certain penalties. In all cases, it can help to seek specialist advice to consider the underlying factors involved in the dispute and assist with resolving it in the most efficient manner.
Why should I work with a tax investigation specialist to resolve an HMRC dispute?
Dealing with HMRC disputes can be stressful and time-consuming. A specialist adviser can help to ease the burden by addressing areas of uncertainty, advising on the best approach with HMRC and handling all communications on your behalf. Tax investigations specialists at Evelyn Partners focus exclusively on contentious tax issues and have significant experience of resolving disputes directly with HMRC. We can assist with all manner of HMRC disputes, whether you have just received a letter or need support with a long-running issue.
Do HMRC recommend working with a specialist in COP 9 investigations?
Yes. The HMRC COP 9 guidance recommends that you seek independent, specialist, professional advice from someone who is experienced in dealing with COP 9 cases, even if you have an existing adviser.
If I can’t reach an agreement with HMRC, do I have to go to court?
Not necessarily. Most tax disputes are settled by negotiation. You may also be able to settle the dispute by mediation through HMRC’s Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) programme. ADR can also be applied for where an appeal has been notified to the Tax Tribunal.
What should I do if I can’t pay my tax bill?
If you cannot afford to pay your tax bill, a formal payment arrangement can be agreed with HMRC. This is called a ‘Time to Pay’ arrangement and it should be duly considered before being entered.
A Time to Pay arrangement should be agreed with HMRC in advance of your tax payment deadline. It can be structured to meet your personal (and business) circumstances.
HMRC can request evidence to support that you are unable to pay your tax at this time and how you will be able to meet the payment plan.
A Time to Pay arrangement is not suitable for everyone, as HMRC will apply forward interest which is calculated as the current rate of interest, plus 1%.
We recommend engaging in Time to Pay discussions with HMRC as early in the process as possible and can support with all negotiations on your behalf.