Following the commencement of an enquiry or investigation by either what was the Inland Revenue or HM Customs & Excise, a taxpayers’ accountant or solicitor can draw on the technical expertise and experience of counsel in dealing with HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) to provide him or her with specialist support from the early stages to the conclusion of the dispute.
Such support and assistance could be provided in the form of a written ‘Opinion’ or during a conference at a time and place to suit the parties concerned or over the telephone if more convenient.
In addition counsel could provide draft letters or attend meetings with accountants or solicitors and their clients and an Inspector of Taxes or VAT Officer to assist in the resolution of an enquiry or dispute as well as advising on prospective settlements and questions relating to penalties and interest.
As it is not always possible to settle a dispute by negotiation, especially given the increasingly adversarial approach which appears to have been adopted by HMRC in recent times, it sometimes becomes necessary to resort to litigation. Advice and assistance in respect of all of the procedural requirements, such as drafting the necessary documentation, in relation to an appeal can be provided. Counsel will also be available to represent the taxpayer before the Tax Chamber of the First-tier Tribunal and can provide written advice on the outcome of any appeal and whether a further appeal to the Upper Tribunal is appropriate.
In the modern age and the relative value of property, Inheritance Tax Planning has become both common and vital. Advice and assistance, which could involve the drafting of Wills, Deeds of Variation etc., can be provided, taking account of an individuals particular circumstances, to identify the most appropriate options available to achieve a reduction in his or her potential liability to IHT. However, tax planning is not restricted to IHT matters and counsel can help identify opportunities for greater tax and VAT efficiency for both individuals and businesses.