HMRC Assessments and Disputes
Any loss of revenue to the Crown is high on HMRC’s list of priorities. HMRC Assessments and disputes arise where HMRC suspect that funds due to the Crown have not been paid. This can result in an issue of an assessment and/or a wrongdoing penalty.
In certain circumstances, HMRC can only issue a wrongdoing penalty once an assessment has been issued. Therefore we strongly recommend that you seek legal advice as soon as you receive any correspondence regarding an assessment or penalty from HMRC, even if it is just a warning to prevent the matter from escalating.
Will I have to pay a HMRC Assessment?
If the assessment is not disputed by you, then HMRC will deem that the sums are accepted as due by you and will pursue you for these sums. HMRC may also take other actions as well, such as issuing wrongdoing penalties. It is important to understand the implications of any assessments issued as soon as possible to allow you to understand the full picture. It is vitally important to seek legal advice at the earliest stage. This will ensure that any evidence or information in dispute of a sum claimed by HMRC, is presented accurately and as quickly as possible. Failure to take the correct action may have serious consequences for your business.
We are aware that there will often be some history to the HMRC Assessment. We offer an initial fixed price consultation to discuss how complex an issue you may have and how to initially proceed as there are often short deadlines. It is likely there will be a period where additional information will need to be obtained with which to challenge HMRC and in these situations we are also used to working alongside company accountants or external accountancy firms.
What is a HMRC Assessment
An assessment is a formal notification of sums believed due to HMRC. The assessment should set out what the claim is for and under what area it is claimed and how you can appeal the process. Assessments can be issued for several reasons.
An Excise Assessment can be issued where HMRC believe that Excise duty is due to the Crown but has not been paid;
A VAT Assessment can be issued where HMRC believe that VAT sums are due to the Crown but have not been paid.
HMRC may also issues assessments for non-payment of personal or corporate sums due to HMRC.
Responding to the Accusations
You can of course respond to the accusations made. HMRC will usually advise of their intention to issue an assessment prior to issuing it, setting out their reasons. They will ask for information or comments from you in support of your position. This will enable them to consider whether or, not to issue an assessment.
The Process to be taken, once an assessment has been issued
Once an assessment is formally raised, you are able to request a review of the decision. The matter will be considered by an alternative HMRC officer. That officer will not have been involved in the original issuing of the assessment. The officer will consider the matter in full before providing their review decision to you. Be aware that the time frame to request a review is usually 30 days from the date of the original decision and HMRC usually have 45 days to provide their review decision.
Post Decision of Assessment Considerations to make
If you still dispute the outcome once the review decision has been issued, you can appeal the review decision to the Tax Tribunal. The Tax Tribunal is similar to a court however the procedure is less formal. Any appeal to the Tax tribunal must be made within 30 days of the date of the written review decision issued to you. There may also be circumstances where you can appeal an original assessment decision straight to the Tax Tribunal and avoid requesting a review by an alternative HMRC officer. It is important to seek legal advice on your matter as soon as possible. The costs and time frame may well affect your decision in how to push forward.
Altion Law are specialists in this area of law and will advise whether:
- You are even the correct party for HMRC to pursue;
- There are any additional risks, such as further assessments or penalties against company directors personally.
- There are any defenses available to you.
Altion Law are specialists at advising and representing parties who have received HMRC assessments and wrongdoing penalties from HMRC.
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