nigel gibbon & co

specialists in indirect tax disputes with HMRC and appeals to the Tax Tribunal 

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nigel gibbon & co offers a unique service in a niche area of the law. We specialise in the representation of businesses in disputes with HMRC both in the statutory review process within HMRC and in appeals to the Tax Chamber of the independent First- tier Tribunal (which we call “the Tax Tribunal”).


We concentrate on giving advice and assistance to VAT or Customs/Excise consultants, accountants, solicitors and other fellow professionals whose clients are in dispute with HMRC in relation to VAT or Customs/Excise issues.


We provide a level of service tailored to the individual case. This might mean, at one end of the scale, providing advocacy services for a specific appeal hearing, leaving our instructing practitioner to “run” the case generally. At the other end of the scale, we might be asked to take over a case lock, stock and barrel – including all contact with the client.


Most decisions of HM Revenue & Customs concerning VAT, Customs Duty or Excise Duties can be appealed initially by statutory review and thereafter to the Tax Tribunal; for example:

  • Assessments for under-declared VAT;
  • Claims for repayments of overpaid VAT;
  • The VAT liability of supplies (ie. standard rated, zero rated or exempt);
  • Penalties for inaccuracies in VAT returns or surcharges for late returns;
  • Tariff classification of imported products;
  • Import valuation;
  • Customs duty reliefs and preferences
  • Liability to excise duties (eg. tobacco duty or duty on alcohol). 

 We also represent clients in appeals from the Tax Tribunal to the Upper Tribunal and assist clients in further appeals to the Court of Appeal or to the Supreme Court and in cases which are referred to the European Court of Justice.


Although we specialise in taking cases to appeal at the Tax Tribunal, we also subscribe to the first rule of litigation – that it is better to settle a case, if at all possible, than to risk the uncertainties inherent in all litigation. An appeal to the Tax Tribunal should always be viewed as a last resort and no opportunity should be lost to engage HMRC in discussions with a view to reaching an advantageous settlement.


Early advice should be sought before engaging HMRC in negotiations because saying or doing the wrong thing at the wrong time might well prejudice the possibility of a successful settlement and might also adversely affect the final outcome if an appeal to the Tax Tribunal proves necessary.  


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