First-tier and Upper Tribunals: Preparing for tribunal: HMRC not to defend case at tribunal
If the tribunals caseworker considers the case and thinks that it should not be defended at tribunal, they should discuss the case with the decision maker and the review officer, together with other relevant stakeholders.
If, following consultation with departmental stakeholders, it is decided that the case should not be defended, the tribunals caseworker may make positive suggestions to the decision maker on finalising the case. Following any suggestions from the tribunals caseworker, the decision maker should tell the customer, finalise the appeal, and close the case.
If an agreement is made under TMA s54 / VATA s85 the tribunals caseworker should tell the tribunal about the agreement: this finalises the appeal and the tribunal needs to know that such an agreement has been made so they can update their records, see ARTG8460.
If HMRC withdraw from a case without entering into a formal s54 / s85 agreement the decision maker should also invite the customer to withdraw their appeal, see ARTG8460.
There is currently conflicting case law as to what action should be taken if the customer refuses to withdraw their appeal. If the customer does not agree to withdraw their appeal the tribunals caseworker should contact Central Policy (Tax Administration Advice).
In Local Compliance, it is the tribunals caseworker and their manager rather than the decision maker who ‘own’ the case until it is decided not to take the case to tribunal, they are responsible for the decision on whether to defend the case at tribunal.