Mediation in VAT and Tax disputes


Mediation is increasingly becoming a more common way of settling commercial disputes without having to resort to litigation.


HMRC recently published guidance to its staff on the use of mediation, in large or complex VAT and tax cases. The guidance sets out why mediation may be appropriate in certain cases to resolve the issue in a cost-effective and efficient way. Other benefits to taxpayers include keeping control of the process, focusing on the important issues, restarting stalled negotiations and building a better relationship with HMRC for future dealings together.


The difference in this new guidance on the mediation process is the use of independant mediators, not HMRC officers trained in mediation, which had been the case during two small regional pilots.


Either HMRC or the taxpayer can suggest that mediation may be appropriate; there is no need to wait for HMRC to take the lead.


Temple Tax Chambers has a member who is also an ADR Group Accredited Mediator qualified in all civil and commerial disputes, including VAT and tax matters. Tim Brown was an HMRC officer for 12 years and for the past 14 years has advised taxpayers both as a tax adviser with two of the Big Four and since 2005 as a Barrister at Temple Tax Chambers.

Tim Brown and Stephen Arthur are listed on the Bar Council's directory of accredited mediators.


Please call the Clerks should you wish to discuss this with Tim Brown or Stephen Arthur mediation as a way forward to settling a dispute.