Appeals and Tax Tribunal HearingsThere was a major change on 1 April 2009 when the Tribunals Service took over responsibility for the management and effective delivery of tax tribunals, replacing the General Commissioners, Special Commissioners and VAT tribunals in the process. As part of the reforms HMRC were obliged to introduce a formal internal review procedure which may be used in isolation or in conjunction with the tax tribunal system or may be by-passed to take a matter directly to tribunal. In either case there are many traps for the unwary and inexperienced. Whilst the internal review procedure does indeed provide an opportunity to have the matter reviewed by an independent and impartial officer who will make a decision regarding the case the outcome will always be influenced by evidence, technical argument, jurisprudence and the presentation of the case. Preparation is vital to success and all of the above applies to an even greater degree when a matter is heard by the tax tribunal. At tribunal the case is heard by a Judge. There are strict rules of evidence and protocol and although not intended to be overly formal there are a number of basic formalities to be addressed. The well prepared, well researched and well presented case will stand every chance of success. Of course the opposite is true of poorly prepared and presented cases.HMRC will employ specialist officers to prepare and present each case at tribunal and so your case must be of an equal or greater standard to allow the real matter at hand to be explored. Both the internal review process and the tax tribunals present an opportunity to encourage HMRC to bring a long drawn out enquiry to a conclusion (application for a closure notice) and both enable tax payers to resolve any disputed decisions regarding their tax affairs to be impartially assessed. We have prepared and presented at many hearings involving the Commissioners and have enjoyed success at the Tax Tribunals. Uncovering and presenting relevant argument and evidence for your case whilst dealing with anything HMRC may present is not easy. Our advocacy and presentation skills together with our wealth of experience combine to deliver a considerable force; working for you.
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