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Sam
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Category: Tax
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We purchased a house in October 2007 and entered into a tax

Resolved Question:

We purchased a house in October 2007 and entered into a tax planning arrangement with the stamp duty. This scheme questioned by HMRC in 2008 and we had a series of correspondences between 2008 and 2011.
The last letter we received from HMRC was 27.7.2011.
We wrote to HMRC on 11.5.12 but heard nothing.
We received a letter dated 12.2.15 from HMRC saying "we do not believe your scheme works and we are committed to challenging it" and requesting we settle.
My question is - are HMRC within the terms of the Tax Payers Charter by leaving this matter for 3years 7 months and then writing an aggressive letter which is clearly meant to frighten us into settling the matter which is not proven in court?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Tax
Expert:  Sam replied 2 years ago.

Hi

Thanks for your question - I am Sam and I am one of the Uk tax exprts

Sadly HMRC are well within their right to challeange any position where they feel tax has failed to be paid when due - and can do so within any time limit they see fit but I agree their failure to communicate back with you from their last letter of 27/07/2011 to which you responded on 11/05/2012 isnt acceptable, but as you had nothing one way or another as to whether this matter had been ettled - the onus was on you to pursue this, rather than you assume all was settled in the absence of a response.

However there may be grounds to argue that as HMRC were aware of this matter from as far back as 2008 - could be said they failedf to make timely use of the information you supplied - and it sounds loike you may hve fully complied with HMRc throughout this proces, and its on the basi i would suggest you have recourse to have this matter remitted (reduced to NIL) so respond in the manner of a compliant intially to their letter of 12/02/2015 and ask for an independt review to be made of this matter (and argue the unreasonable time in which HMRC took to respond as your point in argument (along wih any other arguments you felt were valid throughout this process) and if this still does not resolove matters to your full agreement - then you have rcourse at the first tier tribuanal.

Let me know if you require any further assistance - but it may wll be prudent to engage a tax specilaist who has experience with these stamp duty "saving" schemes - and can also offer first class representation which would further look at the scheme and its validity.

Thanks

Sam

Sam and other Tax Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Sam

Thank you for this

My letter of 11.5.12 was a chaser following up their holding letter of 27.7.11

Previous to this I had responded in huge detail to their requests and provided all the information they asked for

This is the letter I have sent just now. Have you any comments?

I get your point about asking for an independent review in view of the time that has elapsed. Does this cost me money. Does the fact that 3 years 7 months have elapsed have any significance in whether the eyes of the independent reviewer?

Thank you for your letter of 12 February, the contents of which I found very interesting. It was most surprising to be contacted by your scarily-renamed department after all these years, since the last time I heard from you in this regard was in July of 2011.

My advisers wrote to you last on 11 May 2012 asking you if you had everything you needed to complete your enquiries and asking you to close your enquiry. Not surprisingly they have had no response to their letter and some three and a half years have passed since your last communication and in the meantime we have chased you for a response without success.

Under the terms of the Tax Payers’ Charter and having regard to numerous cases on point, your letter of 12 February 2015 is clearly in breach of both of these. I can only conclude that your letter is an aggressive fishing expedition attempting to intimidate a taxpayer in to making a payment which is neither due nor required to be made. You have not made any attempt formally to challenge the arrangements we have undertaken (although you have had considerable time to do so), yet now you ask that I make payment without any reference or indeed anything that supports your demand.

Based on your historic conduct (or lack thereof) and my observations above, I presume that this letter has been sent to me in error and I can confirm that I will not be making any payment to you. If you decide at this stage to attempt to take matters further I shall look to challenge your actions through either the Tax Tribunal or through the Courts more generally by way of a Judicial Review as I believe any such action by you now would be considered ultra vires and would breach my rights under the European Human Rights Legislation.

Expert:  Sam replied 2 years ago.

Hi David

Thanks for your response

The fact that HMRC have re-opened the position with their letter of 12/02/2015 - has given you the oppotinuity to ask for the whole position to be revisted.

Whether you had grounds for appeal in the first instance (that HMRC deemed to be valid) does not preclude you asking under the guise of a compliant to HMRC for this whole matter to be reviewed and a full explanation given to explain their delay between 2012 and now.

Regarding your response

I would add the dates on which your tax advsier chased for a response when you advise "Not surprisingly they have had no response to their letter and some three and a half years have passed since your last communication and in the meantime we have chased you for a response without success"

But the rest I cocur is relavant to the whole position and how you feel in general anout the soippiness of their conduct in this matter.

But I would open your ketter up by stating you wish to respond to their comminiaction of 12/02/2015 by making a formal compaint.

I suggest this - as the complaints team are required to FULLY review the sequence of events in this matter - which gives you another stab at the position, and its on this basis, that I also advsie that you provide copies of ANY correspondance you may have relevent to this matter re

1)you comminucating with HMRC

2) your advisers and all communications they made to HMRC and

3) all comminications from HMRC to you and your advisers.

This independant review will cost you nothing

This will assist bringing this matter to a speedier conclusion, and then if you are still disastisfied you can then decide whether you feel there are complete grounds both with the unacceptable delay and your belief that HMRC are wrong with their treatment of the scheme you entered into, challenge the position a final time - by asking for your case to listed at tribunal - now with this stage you can represent yourself, but if you need representation (either from your initial advisers or a specialist tax representative) then this will cost you money for them to prepare the case and support you at the tribunal.

Its worth at least getting a consultation to se if you have a winnable case, but my advise if the scheme is NOT sound, and you have in fact fallen through the gaps of evading the stamp duty due

- then you have to weigh up whether the cost to chapllenge this with a low chance of success is worth the additional costs.

Let me know if you require any further assistance but a rating (or accept) for the assistance I have provided, would be very much appreciated, as this ensures I am credited for my time

Thanks

Sam