Settling Large Tax Disputes: HM Revenue & Customs

HC 188, Report by the Comptroller and Auditor General, Session 2012-13

National Audit Office (NAO)
TSO (The Stationery Office)

'Settling Large Tax Disputes (HC 188)' examines five large tax settlements, concluding that all five settlements were reasonable and at least one may have been better than reasonable; but concerns remain about the processes by which the settlements were reached, and the reasons for settlement, which resulted in a loss of confidence both internally and externally.

These large settlements are complex and there is no clear answer to what represents the 'right' tax liability. In each case, there was a range of justifiable positions the Department might have taken.

The NAO's examination considered whether the settlement in each case was as good as or better than the outcome that might be expected from litigation, taking into account the risks, cost, uncertainties and timescale of that option.

It is not clear that all settlements were fully compatible with the Department's Litigation and Settlement Strategy. For instance, there are some disputes where the only possible outcomes are either that the taxpayer owes nothing or that it owes the full amount. In these circumstances, the Department's Litigation and Settlement Strategy does not permit 'splitting the difference'.

The Department has acknowledged that its governance processes need strengthening and is introducing new arrangements, including the appointment of an assurance Commissioner, who will approve all large settlements.

Extent 46 pages ISBN 9780102977141
Size A4 Price £16.00
Format Paperback Published 14 Jun 2012
Availability Colour copy: 3 - 5 days Availability help (opens in new window) Delivery Delivery options and charges
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