HMRC is seeking comments on the draft guidance to staff for the implementation of the revised litigation strategy published in July 2011. Comments on the draft guidance should be sent to HMRC by 31 October 2011.
Following HMRC's original Litigation and Settlement Strategy published in June 2007, HMRC published a refreshed Litigation and Settlement Strategy on 14 July 2011 and draft guidance for staff on the Litigation and Settlement Strategy and the use of ADR on 12 August 2011. All three documents, and the facility for making comments on the drafts, can be accessed here.
The Litigation and Settlement Strategy sets out the principles within which HMRC handles all tax disputes between HMRC and taxpayers, from the earliest enquiries into a tax return through to litigation in the tax tribunals and higher courts. The version that has now been published "refreshes" the original 2007 strategy.
The ADR guidance follows on from an extensive internal review of how HMRC handles disputes and a number of ADR pilots undertaken in the first half of 2011. The guidance recommends the use of ADR, particularly mediation, when considered suitable. The guidance states that it is fully consistent with the government's Dispute Resolution Commitment (see item 1 above).
Our separate tax disputes e-bulletin of 27 July 2011 provides further information on HMRC's published approach to resolving tax disputes.