A core area of our expertise involves VAT and recovery of input tax but also cover other taxes.
We defend taxpayers caught up in a wide range of domestic, EU and international tax disputes involving HMRC and the interaction with other tax authorities. Our job is to challenge HMRC when they seek to act, as they sometimes do, outside of their powers.
Clients are drawn from almost every sector as no one is immune from a investigation. We can step in at any stage from the initial enquiry letter issued by HMRC through to tax litigation and settlement with HMRC.
Many of our cases do settle which is almost invariably good news for any taxpayer. We offer the practical and legal skills needed to defend the actions of HMRC. Accountants find it helpful to hand a case such as a VAT dispute over to us knowing we evaluate the evidence, prepare witness statements and bundles ready for the Tax Tribunal. Analysis of the evidence from a legal standpoint is the starting point for working out the strength of the case.
If you do not have a strong case we will tell you.
Areas of particular expertise
The powers and surveillance techniques of HMRC are without a doubt on the rise. But we do see a trend in areas where HMRC can be pushed back for wrongly demanding tax, interest and penalties which they have no grounds for assessing outside the time barring provisions. Dealing with HMRC can be stressful and daunting. Years of experience has taught us how HMRC operates, typical tactics HMRC will try and deploy and importantly how we can secure the best settlements saving time and costs. We have achieved positive results in negotiations with HMRC, on internal reviews and before Tax Tribunals and the national courts.
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Fletcher Day can guide you through the process from beginning to end, work out where HMRC misapplied the law and leverage upwards from that point. He has many years’ experience of resisting millions of pounds in demands for taxes and penalties on behalf of businesses.
HMRC have internal targets to meet for the number of enquires and disputes they must resolve and recover taxes, penalties and interest which if not managed properly could result in serious financial disadvantages, even bankruptcy to you and your business.
Fletcher Day is able to act as an agent for the recovery of EU VAT refunds for businesses established and registered for VAT purposes within EU states. EU businesses need agents to avoid having their EU VAT refund applications rejected which is a regular occurrence causing businesses to miss out on millions of pounds of EU VAT refunds.
The law surrounding the custom duty payable on goods imported, modified and developed and then sold on is complex and different rates of assessment apply. Disputes arise which can impact on the profits available on the goods.
Another area of dispute arises on the tariffs due on imports and in particular high value goods such as metals and art. A practical working knowledge of the import and export customs practices combined with latest knowledge strengthens the trading position and Monty often works with businesses who are seeking to obtain the licenses needed to import into the UK and have been turned down, he can run appeals for such businesses.
VAT is a complex area of law where HMRC often shine a spotlight and indeed have task forces monitoring and verifying business transactions. Refusing legitimate claims for VAT repayments is one such tactic HMRC can attempt. Another area of dispute is on the interpretation of the law and how it was intended to work in practice - HMRC are not always right!
The law will be modified following withdrawal from the EU which could open up the pathway for more disputes, against an increasing backdrop of penalties for non-compliance and denial of VAT repayments.
HMRC have increased the pace of investigations into tax evasion. They have the power to prosecute tax avoiders and deal with evasion as a criminal offence including prison. For advisers there is the risk of prosecution for failing to prevent the facilitation of tax evasion. In almost every case contacting Fletcher Day as soon as possible can be hugely advantageous to your outcome.
Fletcher Day’s expertise covers representing clients at the police station if they have been arrested, detained and interviewed under caution by the police and HMRC. So-called ‘dawn raids’ grab attention and are being increasingly used by HMRC to deter other would-be tax evaders cheating the public revenue.
Judicial reviews serve a purpose in the right type of case where HMRC have abused their position of power. The risk of a judicial review challenge may be enough to make HMRC think again and apply the law appropriately. Another area where Fletcher Day will challenge powers is over the use of search warrants, disclosure failures and ceasing information.
We find that claims made by lawyers who are seen by HMRC as not afraid of drawing judicial attention matters can be particularly forceful.
HMRC have estimated that since that start of the furlough scheme started in March 2020, some £3.5 billion has been erroneously paid to employers and HMRC is now aiming to collect double the amount wrongly claimed.
This attempted recovery could be worth £7 billion to HMRC. There is potentially a lot of money to collect and that is worth HMRC putting some manpower behind this recovery. The recent extension to furlough merely adds to the recovery exercise.
You might be one of the 12,000 employers or accountants that have received a letter from HMRC this month stating that furlough payments need to be repaid. If you have received a ‘nudge’ letter from HMRC, we urge that you review your records to make sure you have not claimed more than you are entitled to
In most cases, there are mitigating circumstances and by making a voluntary disclosure to HMRC and coming clean, Fletcher Day has been successful in negotiating with HMRC and significantly reducing the penalties on behalf of clients.
You get 90 days from the date of the ‘nudge’ letter, so acting fast is important. This is the only chance you have.
Fletcher Day has the skills to mitigate on your behalf if you’ve inadvertently made any errors while applying to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) and can offer the latest legal advice around employment, tax and how this impacts your workforce during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.