If you have a dispute with HM Revenue & Customs about your tax, you could try Alternative Dispute Resolution to help resolve an issue or reach agreement on a matter. You can apply for Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) through HMRC, and it doesn’t affect your right to request an independent review or appeal to the tribunal.
Find out about ADR
You could consider ADR if you are in a dispute with HMRC and feel that you aren’t progressing, perhaps when a compliance check is being conducted. The person who will work with you during ADR will be completely neutral and will act as a mediator between parties. The mediator will work alongside HMRC and you to try to see if there are ways to resolve the dispute, using telephone discussions and face to face meetings. The ADR process will focus on the areas to be resolved and try to encourage communication between both parties.
If you disagree with a decision made by HMRC, you should request an independent review or appeal so that you retain your legal rights. You can request ADR prior to HMRC reaching a decision.
When can it be helpful?
If the facts of what happened are viewed differently by yourself and HMRC, you could ask for ADR to help resolve the disagreement. When communication has stopped with HMRC, ADR may be able to restart talks between parties. It is possible that HMRC has made a decision but you aren’t sure what information has been used to reach that decision. In cases like this, ADR can help.
When ADR can’t be used
Alternative Dispute Resolution isn’t helpful in all circumstances. This includes occasions when a fixed penalty has been charged but you believe that you have a reasonable excuse, as well as criminal investigation cases and default surcharges.
Applying for ADR
Large businesses should contact their Customer Relationship Manager if they have one, or a dedicated caseworker, to discuss the possibility of ADR. For complex tax affairs or a small or medium-sized business, you must complete an online form and submit it to HMRC with your details. A tax adviser can also apply on your behalf. You will be told by HMRC within 30 days whether ADR is appropriate for your particular case. If you are accepted for ADR, you will have to complete a Memorandum of Understanding, which is an agreement with HMRC. The Dispute Resolution Unit will answer any queries which you have.
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