Settlement by agreement: preparation for the settlement meeting: extent of discussion with the taxpayer's advisers prior to the settlement meeting
Before the settlement meeting (SIOG9110) we endeavour to agree with the taxpayer’s advisers details of the calculated liability and interest (where appropriate). When means to fund the settlement is an issue a lot of time can be saved if a taxpayer and adviser prepare realistically for a settlement meeting by researching how a likely offer can be funded.
Confirmation of tax paid is particularly important as mistakes can occur where this has not been checked and verified beforehand.
Calculations of anticipated penalty should not be sent out in advance of the settlement meeting. It would be inappropriate so to do since part of the purpose of the settlement meeting is for the taxpayer to put forward any arguments for the abatement of penalties. In addition any offer put forward must be a voluntary offer, made of the person’s own free will, not at our direction.
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It is for the taxpayer, where a contract offer is sought, to make an offer to the Commissioners of Revenue and Customs. Some advisers will interpret this literally and insist upon drafting their clients’ offers. Where this has been indicated the Investigator should try to obtain an outline of the offer in advance. Offers drafted by advisers frequently contain unacceptable conditions and extensive redrafting may well be required.
The more usual course of events is for the Investigator to draft the form of the offer or agreement. In straightforward cases the standard forms of offer contained in the Appendices to the Enquiry Manual should be used. Where non-standard letters of offers have been drawn up by the Investigator it will often help save time if these are sent out in outline (that is without the offer amount completed) to the taxpayers’ advisers in advance of the settlement meeting. Non-standard letters of offer should not be used without first getting advice and agreement from Solicitors Office.