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HMRC extends the Alternative Dispute Resolution service

29 May 2012

Individuals and SMEs throughout the country can take advantage of a new way of resolving disputes with HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).

The Alternative Dispute Resolution Service (ADR) pilot which was launched in January 2012 for small and medium enterprises in North West, South West, Wales and London has now been extended to SMEs and individuals wherever they are based in the country.

The scheme uses independent HMRC facilitators to resolve disputes between HMRC and customers during a compliance check, but before a decision or assessment has been made. ADR aims to find a fair and quick outcome for both parties, helping to reduce their costs and avoid a tribunal.

Jim Stevenson, Assistant Director, Local Compliance at HMRC, said:

“The pilot has shown that ADR can resolve disputes without having to go to a tribunal – saving both time and money. It allows us to work together with our customers and resolve disputes much earlier than at present.

“The aim is to resolve the dispute or, if not, as many issues as possible. HMRC facilitators help all parties reach a shared and full understanding of the disputed facts and arguments. Because there are often communications issues the facilitator will help explain what each side is trying to say to the other.”

The facilitators are HMRC members of staff who have been trained in ADR techniques and have not been involved in the dispute.

ADR does not affect existing processes or review and appeal rights, and covers both VAT and direct taxes.

To find out more about the scheme go to www.hmrc.gov.uk/adr/index.htm

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