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VAT focus: Challenging HMRC’s failure to decide

Many of us have had clients in the frustrating position where they are unable to challenge HMRC’s VAT position through the appeal process due to a lack of an appealable decision. This may be due to ongoing enquiries where a decision is delayed or where HMRC simply refuses to make a decision referring the taxpayer to published guidance instead. The failure to make a decision may have adverse financial implications for the taxpayer and the only route to compel HMRC to make a decision is costly judicial review.

What is an appealable decision?

VATA 1994 s 83(1) contains an almost exhaustive list of matters for which a taxpayer may lodge an appeal. These include: VAT registration disputes; repayment claims for overpaid VAT; appeals against penalties and interest; and VAT on supplies ...

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