“Mediation in the Modern Age” by Craig Aspinall, Senior Manager in BDO’s Tax Dispute Resolution Team

Craig Aspinall offers some practical tips for alternative dispute resolution in the new world.

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) is a formal mediation process for tax which can often help accelerate a resolution with HMRC. The ADR process is available across both direct and indirect taxes. When a case is accepted for ADR, an ‘independent’ mediator is appointed to manage the process and ensure engagement on both sides. The mediator will be an HMRC officer who has been specially trained and who has not been involved in the dispute before. Where the tax at stake is of significant value or a client has concerns about the ‘independence’ of an HMRC appointed mediator, the taxpayer may choose to appoint an independent mediator, at their own expense, to work alongside HMRC’s representative. I would note, however, that our experience to date of HMRC mediators is that they do operate truly independently of the enquiry team and apply the appropriate level of challenge to both parties.

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