Enquiry Meeting

T.C.T.C. Experienced MentorRegistered, Tutor Posts: 1,448
I am going to an enquiry meeting for a client tomorrow. Any ideas or helpful comments to make me seem more efficient or make the meeting more effective! It has stemmed from a complaint from a client so I need to come across well.

Comments

  • PaulPSBPaulPSB Feels At Home Registered Posts: 55
    When you say its "stemmed from a complaint" what do you mean?

    There are all sorts of enquiry meetings - have you background details to give us an idea of what has lead up to it?

    Paul
  • T.C.T.C. Experienced Mentor Registered, Tutor Posts: 1,448
    Yes, sure. It was originally a "routine" self-assessment tax enquiry. It has lasted over 19 months basically arguing over two questions - business base and CIS vouchers. HMRC have consistently taken between 4-6 weeks to reply to my letters. My client has done everything possible to help (other than meet them in person). They are holding back tax repayments in excess of £8K for three separate years, one before the enquiry year, the enquiry year and last year. Even if everything stood up for HMRC my client would not owe anymore than £1K. The tax inspector has not been co-operative with me or my client and not willing to discuss figures, just making up his own mind. I asked for the case to be reviewed by the line manager, before my client makes a formal complaint, and they are now bending over backwards to help - I am meeting the tax inspector and his line manager.
  • PaulPSBPaulPSB Feels At Home Registered Posts: 55
    Ok

    Make a detailed list of the length of time taken to reply to each letter since the enquiry began.
    Highlight all occasions where the 30 day limit was broken by HMRC.

    At the start of the meeting make a statement that as a professional you are very disappointed at the way the enquiry has been handled. Pass a copy of your schedule of response times and point out the delays. Explain that your client's position has been predjudiced by the excessive delay and the amounts of tax being witheld are far in excess of any amounts that would be payable - even if all of HMRC's points were accepted.
    Explain these deductions and the length of delay have caused (and are causing) your client financial hardship

    Point out that you and your client are considering a formal complaint depending on the outcome of the meeting. Make a point of taking the names of the officers present and take minutes of the meeting - if possible take a secretary and have her take minutes for you.

    Most of all make sure you and your client are prepared for all the questions you will be asked. Your client should be instructed to answer questions but keep his answers brief and to the point.
    Make sure you have all relevant schedules/papers to hand but don't take working paper files with you. Only take the paperwork that is relevant to the correspondence so that if you are asked something unexpected you can reply with - "I'll have to check our files and come back to you on that point"

    Re-read all the letters before the meeting to refresh yourself with everything - it will help you get everything clear in your mind.

    Hope that helps a little

    Good luck

    Paul
  • T.C.T.C. Experienced Mentor Registered, Tutor Posts: 1,448
    Thanks for that.
    I have already issued them with a detailed list of their response times, but I will add the bit about the financial hardship.
    I have already told them that my client is considering a formal complaint and offered them this chance to avoid that.
    My client will not be attending with me (he can't trust himself not to thump the taxman!!! - his words) and he has given me authority to settle the enquiry on his behalf.
    I have sorted all the paperwork into a file and numbered each item on a list, so I think I have everything necessary to hand.
    Unfortunately I cannot take a secretary, but I good at taking minutes myself, even though it will make the meeting last a little longer I am sure.
    Thank you again for your input. It is much appreciated.
  • T.C.T.C. Experienced Mentor Registered, Tutor Posts: 1,448
    After a 2 hour meeting I think I got somewhere. The taxman dealing with the case was in his usual "jobs-worth" mode, but his boss was quite sensible and I think we have just about settled the case, barring a couple of outstanding queries. The taxman actually wanted to examine the records again - 19 months after the start of the enquiry - but fortunately his boss intervened.

    Thanks for your help.
  • PaulPSBPaulPSB Feels At Home Registered Posts: 55
    Sounds like a result! - well done

    Paul
  • T.C.T.C. Experienced Mentor Registered, Tutor Posts: 1,448
    Thanks, but I am not planning to specialise!!!! :001_rolleyes:
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