Settlement by agreement: general: outline of settlement meeting
In the conventional Code 9 case where additional tax and interest has been agreed the principal elements of the settlement meeting are
- for the Investigator to briefly summarise the matters disclosed by the taxpayer and any other matters that have led to the additional liability
- for the Investigator to confirm the agreement of the taxpayer’s advisers to the tax and interest computations, and the calculation of tax paid on account and against assessments
- for the Investigator to enquire if the taxpayer has any further matters which need to be brought to SI’s attention. If there is none, for a Certificate of Full Disclosure to be completed after its importance and seriousness has been emphasised
- for the Investigator to establish culpability (see EM6383 and the Compliance Handbook for advice, depending on which penalty regime applies)
- for the taxpayer to be told of the statutory penalty amounts and the Commissioners of Revenue and Customs policy relating to abatement or reduction
- to invite the taxpayer or adviser to say whatever they think is relevant for abatement or reduction of civil penalties
- to invite an offer to cover tax interest and penalties
- to negotiate the quantum of the offer, subject always to approval by the Commissioners of Revenue and Customs, and where possible to have the offer completed there and then
- to cover any peripheral and post settlement matters.
Where underlying figures are not agreed there may be an extensive preamble to get these agreed.
In those Code 8 cases or where there are no penalties much of the above needs to be modified. But it is still essential that the taxpayer should be asked to confirm that all relevant information has been given to HMRC and that the basis of settlement is understood.
In cases where the negotiation is directed towards global settlement (SIOG9500) it is still important that the taxpayer understands (where it is the case) that HMRC is contending that a civil penalty position exists, and that part of the settlement amount will represent a penalty element.
In means restricted cases a substantial part of the meeting is likely to be taken up with consideration of available means (SIOG9400).