Alternative Dispute Resolution

Help with your Tax Return guide


Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)

ADR is a way of resolving disputes between HMRC and taxpayers.

ADR is available to individual customers where a tax issue is in dispute, whether or not an appealable tax decision or assessment has been made by HMRC.

If HMRC has made an assessment of tax, or other appealable decision, you should appeal or ask for statutory review to protect your legal rights as well asking for ADR. You can also ask for ADR before HMRC have made a decision.

The process involves a facilitator working with the taxpayer and the HMRC case officer to try to broker an agreement between them. The facilitator will be an HMRC officer who has been specially trained and who has not been involved in the dispute before.

It covers both VAT and direct taxes disputes and is open to all customers nationwide. Entering into the ADR process will not affect the taxpayer’s existing review and appeal rights.

ADR is a quick and flexible process and you may want to see if it can help before HMRC make a formal decision about your case. It can help focus on areas of the dispute that you believe need clarification, and re-establish dialogue where it has broken down.

ADR has proven to be a quick and effective method of resolving disputes.

Where ADR may help

ADR may help where compliance checks have reached an impasse, and where one or both of the parties has reached an entrenched position. Where for example:

ADR may be useful if

Even where ADR does not succeed in settling the dispute, it can help to clarify the issues for the next stage – e.g. to a tribunal hearing.

Some disputes are not suitable for ADR. It is not designed for disputes about HMRC’s interpretation of the law, or how the law applies to agreed facts. For example:

More information can be found at:

If you are not sure whether ADR is suitable for your dispute or have any other questions about ADR you can email HMRC’s Dispute Resolution Unit at

If you think your case can be considered for the ADR process, you will need to complete an online application form by following the link below:

Your application will then be considered and you will hear back from HMRC within 30 days. If you are unable to apply online, contact HMRC by telephone on 01452 397088 and they will be able to process your request.

HMRC have provided a Factsheet CC/FS21 which can be downloaded from: