HMRC policy on alternative dispute resolution

By Tolley in partnership with Philip Rutherford

The following Personal Tax guidance note by Tolley in partnership with Philip Rutherford provides comprehensive and up to date tax information covering:

  • HMRC policy on alternative dispute resolution
  • Introduction
  • Background
  • How to request ADR
  • Litigation and settlement strategy
  • Other issues


Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) is widely used in the commercial world as a cheaper, more time efficient and effective way of dealing with issues and disagreements than formal litigation. ADR can come in a number of different formats including mediation, arbitrations and third party negotiation.

HMRC disputes historically tended to be resolved either by protracted correspondence and negotiation or in the Tribunal. Enquiries were often time consuming and costly affairs with neither party achieving a satisfactory outcome.

Following the success of pilot schemes from 2011 onwards, HMRC stated  that ADR is ‘business as usual’ for small and medium enterprises and individuals from 2013/14.


From around 2005 onwards HMRC underwent a large number of changes following the merger of Customs & Excise and the Inland Revenue. A number of reviews were undertaken into various HMRC practices,

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