Positive HMRC engagement saves almost £1M

Sarah Woodall recently helped a large international retail distributor facing excessive VAT assessments to achieve a settlement which saw a very substantial reduction in the sums owed to HMRC.

Sarah Woodall recently helped a large international retail distributor facing excessive VAT assessments to achieve a settlement which saw a very substantial reduction in the sums owed to HMRC.

When the company came to her, they faced VAT assessments of £450,000 with the possibility of interest and penalties up to 100%, in addition to difficulties in obtaining a VAT rebate of £260,000.

The pressure this put on the director left him seriously considering closing down what was otherwise very successful business.

It quickly became evident that HMRC’s conduct throughout the investigation was not good and a catalogue of errors was revealed. In addition to the £450,000 being far in excess of what was reasonably owed, the company had to contend with:

  • an investigation team which lacked any relevant experience in international trade, to the extent that the director had had to educate them on import and export processes;
  • HMRC spending unreasonable amounts of time pursuing lines of argument that were demonstrably false from the outset;
  • protracted written correspondence, apparently random changes of key personnel and significant delays in HMRC conducting its enquiries.

Sarah’s swift application for alternative dispute resolution (ADR) and her clear and determined advocacy led to the removal and replacement of the original investigation team – a significant step in restarting the relationship which had broken down.
Through positive engagement with the appointed mediator, she was able to work through the outstanding issues to achieve a near U-turn on HMRC’s position. The final settlement amounted to just £16,000 with no penalties – a reduction of more than 98%.
Sarah said “The behaviour of the original HMRC case officers had been extraordinarily difficult in this case and, together with their unprecedented delays and unreasonable behaviour, had resulted in a great deal of unnecessary stress for my client, in my opinion. I am delighted to have been able to help such a prosperous local business continue trading; I wish them every success in the future.”

The director said “For any company facing a cross tax compliance check, it can be a daunting prospect. After 12 months of considerable worry, we were given Sarah Woodall’s contact details from our accountants Hazlewoods.
“Sarah’s advice and strategy from day one were very clear to resolve through ADR. This process has allowed both parties a fair and reasonable plan to move forward. I am pleased to say we have resolved all matters successfully which is with great thanks to Sarah, who has managed the process throughout and given us the strength and confidence to carry on running the business.“

Key contacts involved

Sarah Woodall, Partner (Barrister), Head of Tax

Corporate

Direct Dial: .
Mobile: 07384 118 426

How can we help you?

Got a question?

Send us an email

x

Stay up to date

with our recent news


x
LOADING