VAT DISPUTES, Appeals AND LITIGATION
VATangles has extensive experience of challenging HMRC and their interpretation of VAT law, which often goes uncontested by a large proportion of the VAT industry. At VATangles, we do not shy away from disputes with HMRC, in our experience, this leads to the acceptance of VAT positions that should be challenged or consequently, it may result in the unfair detriment to the taxpayers. Whenever HMRC's policy is inconsistent with the law, we will positively instigate disputes with them.
Our VAT consultants will use their comprehensive and in-depth experience to support you with your VAT disputes. Our clients benefit from our expertise on how previous cases have been litigated, and the interpretation adopted by various Courts and Tribunals.
Our ongoing VAT law research includes Brexit as this will include EU law for many years to come. We obtain this knowledge through reading and discussing, at length, a substantial range of tax decisions and judgments from the UK and elsewhere. Our experience has shown us which decisions to apply and how to employ them.
We have a long-standing history of assisting and resolving disputes directly with HMRC or through alternative channels on behalf of our clients. We have a record of success in challenging policy inconsistent with the law – resulting in either no tax or penalty being due or a significant reduction from the figure that HMRC is claiming. We review each situation on its merits to see what the best solution is for our clients.
When we review disputes, there are two questions to consider. Firstly, are HMRC correct? Secondly, and on the basis they are, how much tax or penalty is due?
We liaise with HMRC at all steps of the VAT planning process, and we have confidence that our VAT planning works. Liaising with HMRC at the start of the planning approach is the best approach to dealing proactively with any challenges from HMRC on certain VAT positions.
How can disputes come about?
Proactively challenging inconsistencies of HMRC’s policy with the law and the proper interpretation of the Courts - there are hundreds of examples of this.
Reactively challenging disputes instigated by HMRC: either when HMRC officers make decisions based on their policy, which results in assessments adversely affecting taxpayers or where HMRC allege behaviour, which results in underpaid tax.
In either situation, VATangles is very experienced in liaising on your behalf to resolve your HMRC issues.
Working with HMRC to resolve disputes
We will make every attempt to settle matters with HMRC directly, either by written argument or by using the Independent Dispute Resolution process. If it is not possible to resolve the matter with HMRC, we might need to challenge by way of litigation. VATangles consultants are experienced in representing our clients through the litigation process and have had success with a number of cases in the Tribunals and Courts.
VATangles can litigate the smaller cases before the Tax Tribunal, which is a cost-effective way of dealing with such matters. Alternatively, if the dispute involves complex areas of law, large sums, or is an appeal to the higher Tribunals or Courts, we can engage the services of Counsel.
We are well-known to all of the specialist barristers' chambers working with VAT and can brief Counsel directly, thus avoiding the necessity for the additional cost of solicitors. We write full and well-argued briefs, referencing all the appropriate case law to reduce the work that the barristers have to do, and therefore the cost.
We have taken, and won, cases in the Tax Tribunals, the Court of Appeal and the European Court. To find out more about this service, please contact us.
MEET THE EXPERTS
VATangles worked with a further education college in Hampshire to dispute its VAT output on income generated in its restaurants. Hospitality students were responsible for the complete preparation and service of the meal, closely linking the service to the provision of education and training by the College. Noel Tyler, Chairman and lead VAT consultant of the dispute litigated the matter before the Tax Tribunal and won.
Following this win, HMRC appealed to the Upper Tribunal (High Court equivalent).
To represent the College at the Upper Tribunal, Noel briefed Counsel who successfully won the appeal. HMRC then asked for leave to appeal to the European Court, which was granted. Despite having the UK Government and the European Commission against us, we were successful in what has become a significant and often quoted judgement.
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