A pilot scheme is underway as HMRC launched the Alternative Dispute Resolution on 9th January 2012. The new scheme is initially being trialled in North Wales and North West of England. The scheme has already been trialled, on a smaller scale, and HMRC report that 60 percent were either fully resolved or a partial resolution was agreed.
ADR is intended to help SMEs resolve tax disputes regarding compliance, with HMRC at minimal cost. Both HMRC and taxpayers will save time and money with the new scheme. A team of facilitators have been fully trained by HMRC to deal with tax disputes between HMRC and businesses, reaching either a full settlement of the dispute, or to resolve as many issues as possible without a tribunal beign necessary. The facilitator will try to help each party understand what is wanted by the other party.
Cases which are deemed suitable for the pilot scheme by HMRC involve disputes where clarification is required of facts, or disputes which may benefit from additional evidence. Cases where technical issues require further understanding by one of the parties may also be suitable for the ADR team.
The assistant director for HMRC Local Compliance, Jim Stevenson said:
“ADR will help SMEs resolve disputes without having to go to a tribunal-saving them both time and money. It is a good opportunity for HMRC to work together with our customers to potentially resolve disputes much earlier than at present. The facilitators are HMRC members of staff who have been trained in ADR techniques and have not been involved in the dispute.”
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