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VAT Dispute Resolution

VAT Dispute Resolution

It pays to have an expert friend in your corner if and when HMRC comes calling about your tax affairs.

Given the economic climate, it should come as no surprise to learn HMRC is striving harder than ever to increase the amount of money it brings in from compliance activity. And with its ability to call on sophisticated analytical data systems, more and more people are falling under HMRC’s spotlight.

Harwood Hutton has extensive experience in resolving disputes with HMRC on VAT matters. If you have received an assessment or are being challenged by HMRC on the VAT treatment of your activities, we can help.

We combine expert technical knowledge with excellent ‘soft’ skills that help us get to the root of the issue while maintaining a calm and reasoned atmosphere in the discussions. We have often managed to find a mutually acceptable way forward when previous attempts have failed or stalled.

It is not uncommon for assessments to be challenged on a number of grounds. We start by getting a clear picture of your business and how VAT applies to the full sweep of your activities. Only then do we apply the VAT law to the basis of the assessment, including how it was calculated and the period to which it applies.

If an assessment has been made incorrectly, we can help you get it withdrawn.

As a last resort, we can appeal to the Tax Tribunal and will support you through any litigation process. However, we will always be mindful of the financial outlay involved and the knock-on effects on your business, so victory is not pursued at any cost.

Another option which may resolve the matter is using mediation under the HMRC Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) procedure, and we have used this channel for a number of clients to resolve tax issues. ADR has the advantage that it is conducted in private and is less formal. However, the door is still open to appeal to the Tax Tribunal if ADR is tried but fails.

As a client of Harwood Hutton, you are entitled to subscribe to our Tax Investigation Service which offers welcome reassurance in the event you are caught in HMRC’s cross hairs. Find out more here.


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    Client Testimonials
    • I always get quick, clear and definitive responses from the Harwood Hutton tax team – commercial answers to commercial issues.

      Robin Berry – Morgan Management
    • Right from the outset Harwood Hutton gave us direction and great advice – and that advice has evolved over the years as we’ve grown. We’re both medium-sized companies providing a bespoke service – one furniture, one accountancy – and the relationship works.

      Andy McCarron, McCarron and Co
    • I’m deeply impressed with Harwood Hutton’s extensive knowledge of tax arrangements for residential and commercial property landlords.

      Qadeer Ahmed, MD, ABA Finance
    • They really took their time to understand what was important to us and our business and the expertise we required. Whoever we speak to at HH, we get the same fantastic response and technical input. It’s a real partnership.

      Edward Finch, group MD, MRIB insurance brokers
    • I have worked with the directors at Harwood Hutton on a number of mutual client matters over many years. The reassurance of their clear, commercial and focussed advice is one of the main reasons I regard this as one of my most valuable professional relationships.

      Frank Wessely, Partner, Quantuma LLP
    • Harwood Hutton never seem to rest on their laurels. They are always seeking out new avenues and ways to improve their offering. A very forward-thinking company with staff who are always well briefed and who approach each task with drive.

      Karl Austen, MD, Surefoot Communications
    • We have engaged Harwood Hutton in several areas of structuring, including VAT issues, decoupling an SPV from a group structure and HMRC clearance for a transaction. The team have exceeded all expectations by being proactive, measured and very thorough.

      Adam Fawsitt, Director, FHT Limited
    • We moved to Harwood Hutton as they delivered a succinct and professional proposal. If anything, we have been more impressed post-move. They are a fantastic company to work with. They do truly differentiate. They have the skills and capabilities of a mega firm but with a personal service.

      Edward Finch, group MD, MRIB insurance brokers
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