Tribunals Reform Project
HMRC have recently set-up a working group with the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) to establish a more cohesive and consistent procedure for handling tribunal appeals. As part of these discussions, HMRC has updated its list of frequently asked questions on the transition of tax appeals to the new Tribunal system.
The new Tribunal system is expected to take effect from 1 April 2009. Tribunal appeals made on or after this date will be subject to a more streamlined process. It is hoped that as part of these reforms there will also be a reduction in the number of cases that require a full Tribunal hearing. HMRC are also looking at putting in place transitional arrangements for existing appeals.
A formal review procedure similar to that in place for indirect tax appeals will also be introduced for direct taxes and in the future both direct and indirect tax appeals will be heard at the same Tribunals.
The new Tribunal system will include a new two-tier system, it is expected that most cases will be initially heard by the first-tier tribunal. However, more complex cases may start at the Upper Tribunal.
There will be more detailed guidance issued on the workings of the new Tax Tribunal and on interim arrangements in February 2009.