HMRC internal manual

Compliance Handbook

CH280360 - How to do a compliance check: resolving issues and disputes: handling a dispute: review information and arguments

You should be prepared to repeat this process for each issue in dispute and on each occasion you receive evidence or facts which could be relevant.

When evaluating the facts and considering any further information provided, continue to stay open minded. Avoid fitting the facts to your view of the issue. In particular you should

  • test your understanding of the facts with the person
  • make sure you understand the person’s view of how the facts apply to their interpretation of the law
  • test your view of the facts by analysing the strengths and weaknesses of your initial conclusion, using other team members to help you if necessary
  • share any possible alternative view with the person
  • obtain specialist advice when required (sooner rather than later).

In your review of the case you must also consider if the decision on the dispute will fall under the remit of one of the dispute resolution boards following the guidance set out here.

The results of this process may lead to a need for further consideration of whether it is worth taking the dispute forward. For example, you may find yourself in a position where you believe that although you hold the stronger argument the issue is finely balanced as the law could apply to the facts in different ways.

If you are still unable to resolve issues and reach agreement after following the above process then you may wish to suggest the person applies for Alternative Dispute Resolution.