A pilot scheme aimed at quickly resolving disputes for individuals and small traders odds with the tax authority – without the need for a tribunal - has proved successful enough to become part of HMRC’s ‘business as usual’ services.
Announcing the conclusion of the ADR’s two-year pilot yesterday, Revenue & Customs said it had received more than 400 applications and “good feedback” from taxpayers who used it since its launch in January, and its expansion in May.
The scheme, which is now available to all smaller enterprises and taxpayers whose tax affairs are handled by HMRC’s local compliance teams, is being considered for an extension to larger and complex cases than SMEs and individuals.
According to HMRC, the Alternative Dispute Resolution service uses “independent HMRC facilitators” – HMRC staff who are not involved in the dispute, to resolve disputes between the Revenue and its customers during a compliance check, either before or after a decision or assessment has been made.
Suitable cases have been described by HMRC as disputes that could “benefit from obtaining more suitable evidence,” or those that might feature “matters in which there is legitimate scope” for HMRC (or the taxpayer), “to obtain a better understanding of the other’s arguments.”