VAT penalty review. Assessment, penalties and interest totalling about £270,000 reduced to less than £70,000 following VAT ADR

VAT penalty review

After undertaking various enquiries HMRC concluded that a business was late in registereing for VAT. The business records were said to be inadequate by HMRC giving rise to an estimated VAT assessment plus interest and a VAT penalty totalling in excess of £270,000. The business contacted one of our VAT Consultants who made various submissions to HMRC seeking to have the decision revised. The VAT Review Officer maintained the position of the Assessing Officer.

Our firm lodged a VAT appeal with the Tax Tribunal on behalf of the business and submitted a request to HMRC to seek to resolve this matter by way of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). HMRC agreed to VAT ADR which allowed our VAT specialists the opportunity to gather further information from HMRC. The matter was settled at VAT ADR for an amount of tax of less than £70,000. The VAT penalty review resulted in no penalties nor interest being charged.

Meet The Team

Peter Smallwood Headshot


Peter has assisted a variety of clients including overseas businesses, large multi-national businesses, family businesses, partnerships and sole proprietors. Peter has represented clients at VAT ADR meetings and at the First-Tier Tax Tribunal. Initial negotiations with HMRC can be crucial and as a VAT specialist Peters presentation to HMRC has helped a number of clients to successfully resolve matters without the need of further action. Peter has been instructed by a number of firms of Solicitor’s to provide expert witness reports in relation to VAT matters.


Peter has over 25 years’ experience as a leading VAT specialist working in the profession including being a VAT Director at Deloittes. Prior to working within the profession he worked as a Senior VAT Officer at what is now HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC). Indeed he remembers the days prior to HMRC when he worked at HM Customs & Excise (HMC&E) and before specialising in VAT his work experience included Excise Duty and Customs Duty matters.


Rachel Davies began her working life in the legal profession. When appropriate Rachel will instruct Counsel on behalf of clients for some of the more complex appeals on which we are instructed. Some appeals were Counsel has been instructed by Rachel have resulted in HMRC conceding the matter only a matter of days before a hearing was due to take place.


She moved on and over 25 years ago began working with the VAT group at Deloitte. Rachel was instrumental in setting up Solve VAT in 2002 and almost the first matter she worked on was what ultimately turned out to be a successful appeal on behalf of a client to the High Court from what was then the VAT and Duties Tribunal.