Contentious Tax

Tax compliance is challenging for any business, big or small. Our tax team are here to support you. Our contentious tax experts will guide you and your business through the resolution of tax disputes.

What we do:

We can advise you regarding your tax issues:

  • Management of disputes with HMRC, using ADR.
  • Resolving the legal aspects of tax investigations.
  • Winding up trusts and legal structures (put in place for tax planning) that have subsequently failed.
  • Resolving issues in tax tribunals.
  • Advice on tax risk matters.
  • Advice on tax conduct matters, eg. PCRT.

Why use Haddletons:

Our Haddletons tax lawyers are experts in handling HMRC investigations, tax disputes and enquiries. We are Chartered Tax Advisors as well as lawyers; giving us an unparalleled technical expertise and procedural knowledge of the tax system. Our goal is to work with you to achieve the best solution for your business.

The Haddletons Way


We earn your trust through our authenticity. We listen, we communicate honestly, we genuinely care.


We are people just like you. Get to know us and you will find that we can do more than just resolve your problems and lighten your load.

Personal Service

We look at the world through your eyes to offer a truly bespoke service. The more we understand you and your world, the more we can do for you.

Premium Quality

We offer a premium service with price certainty. Our insight and expertise applied to your needs.

Karen Eckstein has built a formidable and well-deserved reputation defending accountants and tax advisers. She is never daunted, no matter how complex the underlying dispute appears to be. She makes very complicated tax disputes very simple to understand.

, Legal Directory - Published

Frequently Asked Questions

But my accountant manages my tax so why do I need to worry about it?

If you have a contentious tax issue, then your accountant may not be the best option. Accountants generally deal with traditional accounting issues. These are things like annual self-assessment returns, submitting company accounts and ensuring tax efficiency.

However, they’re usually not best placed to deal with tax issues when they arise. Tax issues would include things like tax investigations, tax evasion and appeals to First Tier Tax Tribunal. The skills and expertise involved in dealing with ‘issues’ are considerably different than those required to deal with day-to-day accounting matters.

Not only do tax specialists understand tax and accounting concepts but they are also highly experienced in the relevant appeals processes. This means that they are often best placed to deal with complex tax problems because their primary focus is on solving complex tax issues.

How do I ensure that my business is tax compliant?

All businesses in the UK have a responsibility to ensure they are paying the right amount of tax to HMRC.

As a businesses you must keep up to date with the latest regulations so your business continues to stay on the right side of the law and you don’t get any penalties.

To assess if you are tax compliant, HMRC will want to check the following:

  • The taxes you pay
  • Accounts and tax calculations
  • Your self-assessment tax return
  • Your company tax return
  • PAYE records and returns

Using the support of an accountant or tax advisor and/or accountancy software can certainly help ensure tax compliance.

What are some examples of tax disputes?

Tax disputes can take various different forms. Some examples of the types of tax dispute you may face are:

  • if you believe you have been charged too much tax
  • if you have been refused a tax refund
  • if you have been refused tax relief that you are entitled to
  • if you have been subjected to double taxation

What happens at a tax tribunal?

A tax tribunal is like a court of law with its own rules of procedure and is independent of government and will listen to both sides of the argument before making a decision. With HMRC tax appeals there is no such thing as an HMRC tax tribunal as the tax tribunals are independent.

A typical tax appeal hearing will begin with the taxpayer’s barrister presenting the taxpayer’s arguments in support of the appeal and then examining (or questioning) the taxpayer or any other witnesses who have put in witness statements to provide the evidence that the judge (and usually a panel member sitting with the judge) will find helpful in arriving at findings of facts and assessing the credibility of the witness. The barrister for HMRC may then cross-examine the witness and the taxpayer’s barrister may then re-examine the witness. The judge and panel member may also question the witness. HMRC’s barrister will then present HMRC’s arguments in reply to the taxpayer’s arguments. On occasions, HMRC will also produce their own witness for example to prove that something was done or a notice was sent and on what date. The taxpayer’s barrister will then have the right of reply to sum up the case for the taxpayer. The tax tribunal judge will then either give their decision or more usually, will reserve their decision for later and let the parties know roughly when they are likely to hand down their written decision.

What is Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)?

Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) refers to ways of resolving disputes between consumers and traders that don’t involve going to court. Common forms of ADR are:

  • mediation, where an independent third party helps the disputing parties to come to a mutually acceptable outcome
  • arbitration, where an independent third party considers the facts and takes a decision that’s often binding on one or both parties


Mediation involves an independent trained mediator who facilitates communication between the two parties having the dispute, with the aim of achieving a settlement or resolution. The mediator will discuss the issues and try to help the parties reach an agreement, but will generally not offer their own opinions or assessment.


This is more formal than mediation, and involves a process in which the dispute is resolved by the decision of an arbitrator (a nominated third party who is qualified to handle arbitration). The arbitration process can be particularly useful in disputes which require an understanding of technical knowledge and where privacy is important (eg to avoid disclosure of commercially sensitive information) or if there is an international element (i.e. to avoid multiple legal jurisdictions). It runs as a tribunal process and decisions are binding. Many contracts will contain an arbitration clause, which requires arbitration to be used in the case of a dispute.

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Haddletons are never daunted, no matter how complex the issue.