Accelerated Payment Notices from HMRC: What are they? Accelerated Payment Notices (APNs) are notices typically arising because HMRC considers that the taxpayer has been involved in a tax avoidance scheme. HMRC will typically be aware of this because of the requirement under the Disclosure of Tax Avoidance Schemes (“DOTAS”) regulations.
APNs require the recipient to pay the amount of wrongfully avoided tax stated in the notice to HMRC within 90 days of its receipt.
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What Tax Schemes May be Subject to an Accelerated Payment Notice from HMRC?
Accelerated Payment Notices can be issued where the recipient has been involved in a tax avoidance scheme disclosed under the Disclosure of Tax Avoidance Schemes (DOTAS) rules, caught by the General Anti Abuse Rule (GAAR) or has received a Follower Notice arising from their participation in the scheme.
They commonly arise in such schemes as Employee Benefit Trusts.
APNs can be issued if there is an open tax enquiry or a claim submitted by the taxpayer, or an open appeal relating to the same. Secondly, the underlying feature presumed to be the case by HMRC is that the taxpayer will have received some form of a tax advantage from the scheme.
What are the Follower Notices that arise from Accelerated Payment Notices from HRMC?
HMRC can issue an APN if they have issued a Follower Notice in relation to a specific tax avoidance scheme or similar avoidance scheme. Follower Notices are issued when HMRC has obtained a court ruling that it considers will also apply to the same or similar tax avoidance schemes entered into by that taxpayer. If a person receives a Follower Notice but does not settle the liability in response to the Follower Notice, they may face a penalty of up to 50% of the tax in dispute.
What can I do on Receipt of an Accelerated Payment Notice from HMRC?
There is no specific right to appeal an Accelerated Payment Notice but you can make representations nevertheless. You cannot negotiate with HMRC on the amount required by the Accelerated Payment Notice, nor will they often be flexible about the 90 day time period for payment.
If you make representations the payment period might be increased but it is not something to be relied upon as it will clearly depend upon the merits of the representations. You can make representations on a small number of grounds. These grounds are: either that the conditions required for the issue of an APN have not been met or that the amount specified is incorrect. You must make representations within 90 days and HMRC has a duty to consider the representations and let you know its decision on the position of the APN in response.
Is Making Representations to an Accelerated Payment Notice Worthwhile?
You have to make reprentations to an Accelerated Payment Notice before you will know if it is a worthwhile exercise. Obviously it is recommended that you seek independent advice so that the representations you make are accurate and productive.
At Oliver Elliot we can help you make these representations so call us now on 020 3925 3613 and speak to our CEO, Elliot Green, who has a wealth of experience in dealing with APNs and importantly with HMRC.
It is worth remembering that the tax regime is governed by self assessment. Therefore because you the taxpayer self assesses the amount of tax you have to pay, HMRC relies upon those figures to understand your tax affairs. You may find if your tax compliance is incomplete, as a result the Accelerated Payment Notice you receive could be incorrect.
At Oliver Elliot, our CEO, Elliot Green, has made representations concerning APNs and this has led to reductions in HMRC tax debts.
It is therefore important that if you have any concerns about the amount stipulated in the Accelerated Payment Notice that you ensure representations are made within the 90 days.
Whether your representations are successful or otherwise, you will have 30 days from the date of HMRC’s response to your representations to pay the relevant amount in question.
Will I Receive an Accelerated Payment Notice?
As Accelerated Payment Notices are generally used where the taxpayer has used a tax avoidance scheme to avoid paying the full amount of tax, in most situations, you will know if you are likely to be affected.
You will usually be informed as to your forthcoming Accelerated Payment Notice, either through the receipt of a Follower Notice, or a letter that HMRC typically sends in advance of the issue of the APN. This will tell you that you will be receiving one and provide further information about the process.
Have you received a Follower Notice or an Accelerated Payment Notice?
If you’ve received a Follower Notice or an Accelerated Payment Notice and want to discuss options, call us on 020 3925 3613 or Contact Us.