Report on HMRC's new approach to disputes published

HMRC has published the first report by their new Tax Assurance Commissioner, which details the department's new approach to resolving disputes with taxpayers.

The new role was announced in February 2012, as part of a package to strengthen HMRC's governance arrangements in response to concerns about how tax disputes were handled.

HMRC say resolving disputes by agreement is their preferred approach, but they will take cases to litigation if an outcome consistent with the law cannot be achieved in any other way. Three Commissioners now make decisions, acting as the final point of approval for settlements in the largest and most sensitive cases. These cases are identified to be those with more than £100m (previously £250m) tax under consideration and a sample of cases where the tax involved is at least £10m, but less than £100m.

The report shows that, in the first six months under the new arrangements, 22 cases were referred to the Commissioners for a decision. Eleven proposals by taxpayers worth £1,368 million were accepted, six proposals by taxpayers worth £285m were accepted with conditions, and five of the proposals worth £398 million were rejected.

Edward Troup, Tax Assurance Commissioner and second permanent secretary at HMRC said the direct involvement of the Commissioners in the oversight of large settlements, and scrutiny of the processes provides 'assurance that [HMRC] do consistently achieve the correct tax outcomes for the Exchequer under the law.'

Diane Tan |Content manager - current awareness, CCH

Diane Tan is content manager, current awareness at CCH, Wolters Kluwer UK

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