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APNs & Follower Notices

Tax-Investigations

Accelerated Payment Notices (APNs)

An APN is an upfront demand of tax, which HMRC can issue to any participators in DOTAS-registered tax avoidance schemes. HMRC can issue taxpayers with an APN before the Courts have ruled on whether the scheme “works”.

An APN can be issued if:

  • there is either an open enquiry or appeal into the taxpayer’s tax return or claim, and

  • the tax return or claim was submitted on the basis that the taxpayer could reduce their tax liability as a result of participating in certain tax avoidance arrangements.

An APN only allows 90 days for payment, so immediate action is required. Failure to do so will result in a penalty.

There is no right of appeal, meaning the only potential legal remedy is Judicial Review, however APNs are issued based on HMRC’s “best judgement” so it is possible to make written representations objecting on quantum and/or procedural grounds.

HMRC has published a list of schemes where they intend to issue APNs. If you/your client have participated in any of these schemes, you should contact a specialist to ensure that your tax exposure is properly quantified and you can make provisions to pay the APN in due course.

A Partner Payment Notice (PPN) is used where the taxpayer has participated in a tax avoidance scheme through a partnership, rather than directly.

Follower Notices (FNs)

An FN is issued by HMRC if they consider that the scheme you participated in is materially similar to one which they have “defeated” in court. It requires the taxpayer to amend their relevant tax return(s) and make a payment equal to the amount of tax originally saved by entering the arrangement.

Similar conditions to the ones that apply to an APN also need to be satisfied in order for a Follower Notice to be issued.

Non-compliance with an FN can give rise to penalties of up to 50% of the tax outstanding.

HOW CAN HAMILTON ROSE HELP?

Hamilton Rose have seen numerous APNs and FNs over the years - we know what information they should contain to be a valid notice and we know what your options are for appealing the notice, if applicable.

Should you or your client have insufficient funds to pay the notice, we can liaise with HMRC regarding "time to pay" or we can arrange for you to speak with someone who can help.

If you or your client have participated in a scheme, Hamilton Rose can ensure that your tax exposure is properly quantified so you know what to expect and can make provisions to pay the notice in due course.