Taxpayers set to lose rights under new tax appeal system

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Concern has already been voiced over new proposals put forward in a consultation document published with the pre-budget report: Tax appeals against decisions made by HMRC.

A key proposal is that appeals against decisions made by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) will be conducted exclusively by HMRCs own staff. CCH, the accounting and tax information provider says the moves could delay repayment of taxes by months, may not be transparent or impartial and could delay the dispute resolution process.

The consultation proposes that HMRC review tax disputes ahead of the proposed new independent tribunal system. The Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act, which received royal assent in July is set to eventually dispense with the General Commissioners and Special Commissioners appeal tribunals.


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17th Oct 2007 17:42

Comparison with other areas of government
This sort of internal review is used in other areas and it would be good if some of the professional bodies commenting could draw on the academic research that already exists about its effectiveness. There is some classic research on its use in homelessness law which, if my memory serves me right ,raised, amongst other things, why even in the most dire situations more people did not resort to it when their claim was turned down, and why a relatively high number of decisions were overturned, begging the question of why they were wrong in the first place. In other words, would not resources be better spent getting initial decisions right, rather than leaving it to those taxpayers who are either properly represented or clued up enough to seek internal review which might then get the decision remade in their favour. That's even before we get on to the rights and wrongs (and human rights issues) about access to external appeal tribunals.

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