Tribunal AKA FTT (Tax)
Set up in 2009 to replace the four separate tax tribunals (Special and General Commissioners, VAT and Duties and Section 706 Tribunals), the tax chamber deals with direct and indirect tax related decisions made by HMRC, including:
Capital gains tax (CGT)
Stamp duty land tax (SDLT)
Appeals can be made by individuals, organisations, single tax payers or multinational companies. Interestingly, the use of the word ‘appeal’ has a different meaning in direct and indirect taxes. In direct taxes it means an appeal to HMRC and in indirect taxes it means an appeal to the Tribunal.
If you've never dealt with this relatively new tax tribunal before, what can you expect?
The Tax Tribunal follows the old VAT Tribunal pattern. Although it equates to the previous General Commissioners or Crown Court in status, the Tribunal tends to be a little less formal.
Guidance from the Tribunal Centre explains the process; with the Appellant taxpayer going first, presenting evidence and argument; followed by HMRC response, and the Appellant concluding. You should receive correspondence from the Tribunal Centre giving location, date, time allowed (half day, day, etc).
Check the Tribunal rules about costs.
If you want to refer to the legislation have a look at Rule 10 of The Tribunal Procedure (First tier Tribunal) (Tax Chamber) Rules 2009 .
In a nutshell you can be liable for the other side's costs (or, in Scotland, expenses) if
(a) you behave unreasonably for example, pursuing a case to Tribunal when you obviously don't have a leg to stand on or fail to do something which you should for example, simply not turning up for the Tribunal hearing resulting in it having to be rescheduled; or;
(b) the case is a "complex" one AND you lose AND you have not previously 'opted out' of the costs regime. There are time limits for opting out of the costs regime.
Obviously if you have opted out of the costs regime in a complex case and you win, then you cannot recover your costs from the loser.
Unfortunately you have to decide on opting out BEFORE you get to the hearing!
From Tax Chamber Tribunal Procedure the hearing will consider facts in law and as established in the case to date. Hiding evidence from HMRC and relying on it at Tribunal won't do.
Evidence and submissions
—(1) Without restriction on the general powers in rule 5(1) and (2) (case management powers), the Tribunal may give directions as to—
(a) issues on which it requires evidence or submissions;
(b) the nature of the evidence or submissions it requires;
(c) whether the parties are permitted or required to provide expert evidence, and if so whether the parties must jointly appoint a single expert to provide such evidence;
(d) any limit on the number of witnesses whose evidence a party may put forward, whether in relation to a particular issue or generally;
(e) the manner in which any evidence or submissions are to be provided, which may include a direction for them to be given—
(i) orally at a hearing; or
(ii) by written submissions or witness statement; and
(f) the time at which any evidence or submissions are to be provided.
(2) The Tribunal may—
(a) admit evidence whether or not the evidence would be admissible in a civil trial in the United Kingdom; or
(b) exclude evidence that would otherwise be admissible where—
(i) the evidence was not provided within the time allowed by a direction or a practice direction;
(ii) the evidence was otherwise provided in a manner that did not comply with a direction or a practice direction; or
(iii) it would otherwise be unfair to admit the evidence.
(3) The Tribunal may consent to a witness giving, or require any witness to give, evidence on oath, and may administer an oath for that purpose.
If all else fails you may get leave to appeal to the Upper Tier Tribunal= Tax.
As you can see there is a lot too this procedure and you should carefully consider everything before embarking upon this course,