Tax appeals threatened by cost cutting

The Group A firm warned the consultation document emphasised the need to improve the current system. But the idea that a General Tax Tribunal, to include the hearing of VAT and direct tax appeals, could be chaired by a person of limited legal qualification supported by a clerk who is a lay person, was not a good idea.

The firm added that the existing system – whereby a lay body is advised by a legally qualified clerk – works well and it strongly opposed any moves to alter that concept.

Tax investigations director John Gwyer said: ‘There is an inherent need for a local tribunal comprising lay people. Although the consultation document states that since the advent of self-assessment the General Commissioners have had less to do, the fact is that because of the unforeseen administrative difficulties involved in introducing the new scheme, the efforts of the Inland Revenue have not been channelled into investigation work on the scale originally intended.’

Gwyer added that the document appeared to be advocating a dumbing down of the process.

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