Most of the time tax disputes are settled between the taxpayer and HMRC by agreement, but some cases do go to court. If the dispute is not resolved either way it enters what is known as Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). ADR is open to any individual or organisation. This is where a third party acts to help bring about a settlement. ADR suits cases that are fact-specific or where a range of possible outcomes is foreseen (i.e. a dispute over figures). ADR can also be used to explore alternative settlement approaches even where a case is considered hopeless for the taxpayer.


ADR normally involves a day’s mediation facilitated by an accredited HMRC or third-party mediator. DNS provide the advice you will need to decide if ADR is right for you, assisting you with the process if you decide to go ahead and providing expert back-up to represent you. We provide the right help to ensure that whatever the outcome, it’s one you can manage by negotiating terms with HMRC.

Case history: A dispute arose when a client had innocently made an error on his tax return and approached HMRC to notify them of the error. While he did agree with HMRC’s calculation of tax payable he did not agree with the penalties imposed when he, the taxpayer, had approached HMRC with the error. We advised that he went to ADR, the fees for which were settled in full by DNS Fee Protection Service.

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