National Audit office review of HMRC tax settlements will give greater comfort and certainty to taxpayers, says EY

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Chris Oates, head of tax controversy and dispute resolution at EY, comments on the National Audit Office’s review of five HMRC tax settlements:

“The National Audit Office’s (NAO) conclusion that the settlement of large tax disputes reached by HMRC have been reasonable and within acceptable parameters will be widely welcomed. This independent assessment gives comfort and greater certainty to taxpayers that agreed settlements will not be revisited.

“We also welcome the recognition that there are, in most tax cases, a range of ‘right answers’ and that collaborative resolution of disputes is a useful tool for settling long running and complex issues.  This gives support for those taxpayers looking to achieve settlement with HMRC through any of the available Alternative Dispute Resolution routes. 

“It is also clear that a number of technical arguments that HMRC has been willing to argue in the past are unlikely to have been resolved in their favour if the issue had gone to litigation. Therefore taxpayers with strong technical arguments should continue to press ahead with them, where appropriate.”