Witness statements are a crucial piece of evidence when presenting your case in dispute with HMRC. Skill and effort are required in drafting such statements, and the Court or Tax Tribunal will often criticise poorly drafted statements without statements of truth for example. A good CPR compliant witness statement is an important part of advocacy.
Our specialist tax disputes lawyers have years of experience in presenting cases and facts in the form of well presented witness statements and in advocating on behalf of taxpayers against HMRC in the Tax Tribunal.
What is a witness statement?
A witness statement is a formal document that contains a witness’s account of the facts relating to a particular dispute. The purpose of a witness statement is to provide written evidence to support a particular party’s case. A witness statement can either be in support of your case or your opponent’s case.
A witness statement is a crucial piece of evidence that will be referred to and relied upon at trial or at the First Tier Tax Tribunal. Therefore, it is important to ensure that your witness statement is both accurate and comprehensive.
Contents of a witness statement
When doing a witness statement you should only disclose relevant information to the case and usually the person requesting the witness statement will set out what to cover in the witness statement.
We suggest you seek legal advice if you are having difficulty in complying with what your witness statement should include.
Who provides witness statements on behalf of HMRC?
- Tax Credit Office
- Centre for Exchange of Intelligence (CEI)
- Child Benefit Office
- Law Enforcement Operations
Any member of HMRC staff can provide and sign a witness statement providing that they have permission to disclose the information. When a witness statement is prepared, the person who produced the witness statement may be called to Court to make a statement of oath.
How do I prepare a witness statement?
The first step will be to arrange a meeting at which we will run through your recollection of all of the relevant facts and events with which you have been involved. This is called taking a proof of evidence. The proof of evidence will set out everything that you tell us which relates to the issues in question, and it will be for internal purposes only.
We will use the proof of evidence as a basis for preparing a draft of your witness statement. This will be provided to you for your consideration and input, where necessary, and it is normal for there to be several drafts of the witness statements for you to consider.
The witness statement must be in your own words. Therefore, you must ensure that you understand what is included in your witness statement and that the contents of the witness statement accurately reflect your recollection of the facts.
Expert London Tax Lawyers
If you need HMRC Tax Disputes advice, we are available to aid you at every stage of the HMRC appeals process. Members of our legal team have first-hand experience and working knowledge of the internal workings of HMRC. We can provide you with the very best representation in negotiations, throughout the HMRC internal review process and in front of the Tax Tribunal. Our team specialises in successfully challenging HMRC decisions and will assist you in every aspect including developing a strategy.
We are experts in adeptly presenting evidence and employing bespoke arguments combining the facts of your case, previous cases and current legislation to ensure your appeal is a successful one. We provide urgent advice and representation to clients from our unique expert team of established tax and duties specialist solicitors and barristers with a proven track record of delivering authoritative results. Just call us on 0207 1830 529, or email [email protected].