Within the last five years, HMRC has doubled its operational budget and aggressively targeted taxpayers, who have used tax mitigation structures, for investigation.

With an ever-increasing arsenal of formidable, investigative weapons available to HMRC, many taxpayers are finding themselves on the wrong end of a protracted HMRC enquiry or, more worryingly, a serious HMRC COP 9 investigation.

Birketts’ Tax Disputes Team has in-depth experience advising and successfully defending individuals and businesses against the onslaught of HMRC enquiries, investigations and, more recently, accelerated payment notices (where DOTAS schemes have been used). Our Tax Disputes Team has a record of successfully resolving taxpayers’ disputes with HMRC: by way of negotiated settlement or representing and conducting taxpayers’ appeals at the Tax Tribunals. 


We aim to provide bespoke and cost-efficient legal and tax support services in a flexible and responsive manner, to meet the specific requirements of tax professionals and their clients.

In particular, we work closely with accountants and other tax professionals in providing support and advice on:

  • taxpayers’ legal rights and obligations in COP 8 or COP 9 enquiries/investigations, including MTIC fraud investigations 
  • defending against/voiding accelerated payment notices issued by HMRC, including challenging the vires of such notices by way of Judicial Review
  • countering or restricting the scope of Schedule 36 FA 2008 “Notices to Produce” issued by HMRC
  • negotiating favourable tax settlements for the taxpayer with HMRC, and providing practical and proactive advice on effective litigation strategies in direct and indirect tax disputes with HMRC
  • representing and conducting taxpayers’ appeals at the first and upper tier tax tribunals, including advocacy, case management and completion of all tribunal documentation (e.g., taxpayers’ substantive grounds of appeal).

Examples of successful results by our tax disputes team include:

  • negotiating a customs duty settlement with HMRC, reducing the C18 demand by 80%
  • conducting a direct tax appeal at the first tier tribunal and obtaining a full repayment of the disputed tax (offered by HMRC in settlement, before closing arguments in the tax appeal)
  • obtaining full repayment of disputed VAT input tax (£1.2m) for an innocent trader caught in a VAT MTIC chain.

If you have any queries or would like to discuss a potential tax dispute with us, please contact Carol Bun on 01473 406332 or [email protected]. All initial consultations are on a ‘no obligation’ basis.

Leading Firm Legal 500 2016

Birketts LLP ‘can easily compete with London firms of much greater size’.

Legal 500 UK 2016