What are the processes and deadlines in Tax Tribunal Cases?
Generally the Tax Tribunal will issue directions to HRMC and to the appellant setting out the deadlines and timescale for matters to happen. Often these can be influenced by another event occurring (eg the completion of one stage early can trigger the clock for the next stage of the process relating to the Tax Tribunal). Agreement can be reached to change the deadlines set out as part of the tax tribunal process but this must be done in advance of the deadline date and with approval of all parties.
Default Paper appeals to the Tax Tribunal
A brief overview of the process for Paper appeals to the Tax Tribunal is as follows:
- If HMRC are not already aware of the appeal (which in most cases they should be) the First-tier Tribunal will inform HMRC of your appeal.
- The tax tribunal will then give HMRC 42 days to provide a statement of their case, which they have to send to you or your advisor. This in effect will be there technical arguments and points they wish to make to prove their case.
- You (or your advisor on your behalf) then have 30 days to respond to the statement made by HMRC. This should be sent to both the Tax Tribunal and HMRC. This gives you the chance to put forward your own technical and factual points and also to refute those of HMRC as set out in their statement of case.
- In most instances the statement of case and your own response will be reviewed by the Tax Tribunal Judge and you your advisor and HMRC will receive a decision in writing following the review of the tax Tribunal Judge.
Generally the process relating to the basic appeal to the Tax Tribunal is that an informal hearing will be arranged where you, our advisor and any witnesses can present your case against the HMRC decision. HMRC will also present its case to the Tax Tribunal. All of this is done verbally, although documents may have been sent to the Tribunal before or referred to at the tax tribunal. It is normal practice that the Judgement of the Tax Tribunal is given at the end of the hearing.
Standard and Complex Appeals to the Tax Tribunal
An outline of the procedures for standard and complex appeals is as follows:
- The Tribunal will inform HMRC of your appeal and set out time limits for various things such as exchange of information, statement of case, provision of witness statements and submission of documents to the Tax Tribunal to happen.
- HMRC have up to 60 days to provide a statement of case to you, your advisor and the Tax Tribunal.
- You, or your advisor on your behalf, have 42 days to respond to the HMRC statement. You must provide a list of the supporting documentation you intend to use to the Tribunal and HMRC will provide you with a list of the supporting documentation that they will rely on.
- You must allow the Tribunal, HMRC or any other parties involved in the appeal to view or take copies of the documents on this list if they ask to do so. Often this is all put together by HMRC as an agreed document pack and a copy is sent to the Tribunal, you (or your advisor) and HMRC before the Tax Tribunal Hearing. These will be cross referenced and it is important to refer to this reference during the procedures if you are bringing documents to the attention of the tax tribunal judge. What you do not have to provide or allow to be copied is any documents from your advisers that are giving you legal advice..
- The Tribunal may also make other specific requests of you in some cases. This can include things like to provision of witness statements and sometimes other documents which they feel will be of use or value.
- The date of hearing is determined by the Tax Tribunal but they do give a range of dates for the hearing (often a three month window) where they ask for dates when parties to the appeal cannot attend a hearing.
- The tax tribunal judge will often look at the papers and submissions in advance of appeal will then be heard, usually in an HM Courts and Tribunals Service office local to where you are. Other venues such as the address of your advisor or another more preferred venue can also sometimes be agreed.
- At the Tribunal each side has to present its case with reference to documents, facts, legislation and case law. It is usually the appellant who presents first to the tax tribunal and then the defendent presents their case. As the appellant you then get to have in effect the final say.
- HMRC have special units who solely deal with Tax Tribunal cases and they are used to presenting their case before a tax tribunal judge.
- The tax tribunal judge may give verbal judgement on the day or the tax tribunal judge may decide that they wish to deliberate on the decision and make a judgement at a later date. It is often a good idea to .offer a copy of your speaking notes to the Judge as he can refer to these both as you present your case and if necessary after the hearing has finished but before the tax tribunal judge makes his decision.
- You will receive the decision of the tax tribunal judge in writing, usually within 28 days of the hearing.
At Gilbert Tax, we have over eighty years experience in finding closure for clients dealing with HMRC disputes and appeals. We are skilled in negotiating with HMRC and may be able to bring the matter to a close without it going to the Tax Tribunal. If it does we have .significant experience of taking appeals to the Tax Tribunals and also have access if needed to Tax Lawyers and Tax Barristers. This expert team can make all of the difference to the outcome of a HMRC dispute.
For a free private discussion of your tax matters and how we can help solve these, please call Gilbert Tax on 0800 734 3333 or email us firstname.lastname@example.org