The company was set up in June 2015 to provide a consultancy service to clients covering all areas related to Income and Corporation Taxes. A few of the more specialist services offered are considered in more detail below, but if there is anything tax related you need advice on a quick call or email is advised. The initial consultation is free and carries no obligation.
Our lead consultant is Mark Doodney. Mark spent 28 years working for HM Revenue and Customs and was Officer in Charge of the Barnstaple office at the time of its closure in May 2015. He completed the HMRC full technical training course, which is the highest level of technical training available within HMRC, and has worked in a variety of roles with a range of business sectors ranging from sole traders to large corporates.
As well as undertaking work for private clients, the company provides consultancy services to Croner-i (Formerly Croner Taxwise) and the Stoke based Capital Allowance Review Service.
Examples of what we can provide
Mark worked as a Capital Allowances consultant working to HMRC Head Office for several years prior to leaving HMRC and so is ideally placed to undertake reviews to ensure that all expenditure on assets qualifying for capital allowances, including historic embedded assets, have been claimed.
Work over the last few years includes preparing,advising, and defending claims in respect of agricultural buildings and structures that perform an ‘active function’ in the business. Mark (in his Croner role) was the lead caseworker in the cases of May & Anor v Comms for HMRC ( TC 06928) and JRO Griffiths Ltd v Comms for HMRC ( TC 08203), in which a grain store and potato store respectivelywere found to be ‘silos provided for temporary storage’ by the First-tier Tax Tribunaland so avoided the general exclusion of buildings/structures from qualifying for capital allowances. The potato store in Griffiths was additionally found to fall within the ‘cold store’ exclusion and both cases are now final as HMRC decided not to appeal the decisions.
We have worked with clients and accountants to submit successful claims to HMRC in respect of similar classes of assets and are also currently working on defending claims where there is an argument that structures are not ‘fixed structures’, which is an issue applicable to assets such as polytunnels and other non-permanent/moveable assets.
Please read this article in which I explored two First-tier Tribunal decisions that found specialist buildings/structures operated as single units within the trade of farming and were found to be plant in their entirety.
Mark has extensive experience of HMRC enquiry work having undertaken enquiries ranging from in depth reviews of the whole of the business operation (known as ‘full enquiries’ within HMRC) to technical enquiries focussing on certain areas only (‘aspect enquiries’).
In connection with this area we provide the following:
- Working with you and HMRC to bring enquiries to an early resolution through the addressing of enquiry risks.
- Reviewing the use of HMRC formal enquiry powers to ensure that their use is relevant, legally valid and within HMRC guidelines, challenging where appropriate.
- Negotiating enquiry settlements on your behalf with HMRC where necessary, to include consideration of restrictions to HMRC’s ‘discovery’ powers by reference to assessing time limits and other factors such as the concept of ‘staleness’, ensuring that your position is protected as far as possible.
- Undertaking penalty negotiations to ensure that any tax geared penalties sought are commensurate with omissions, errors and ‘behaviours’ established and are legislatively valid. We can also advise on other HMRC penalties as required.
- In more serious cases where a disclosure report is required as part of an HMRC enquiry into substantial and/or extensive failures to submit correct tax returns and pay correct taxes we can undertake this work and negotiate with HMRC on your behalf. In a recent case where we prepared a disclosure report we succeeded in obtaining HMRC agreement to a reduction in tax related penalties of well in excess of £50,000.
- Should a mutually acceptable enquiry settlement basis prove impossible to negotiate we can represent you through the use of formal internal review requests and Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) as appropriate. In the small number of cases where these ultimately prove unsuccessful we can advise, prepare for, and represent you at First Tier Tribunal hearings.
An example of our work can be found in the case of Steadfast Manufacturing & Storage Ltd v Comms for HMRC( TC07770). Mark, again in his Croner role, defended a claim for tax relief in respect of repairs to the client’s premises, specifically the lorry yard, from the start of the enquiry process to presenting the case successfully at the First-tier Tax Tribunal.
Research and Development Tax Reliefs (RDTR)
This is a relief that is available to Limited Companies that undertake projectsthat fall within the definition of Research and Development (R&D). Our company has been involved in both preparing RDTR claims and defending claims prepared by others that have been subjected to HMRC enquiry.
There are two tax relief schemes, one for Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) and one for large companies (Research and Development Expenditure Credit or RDEC).
If a company has less than 500 employees, a turnover of less than €100 million and/or a net balance sheet value of less than €86 million and less than 25% of its issued share capital held by a large company it will generally fall within the SME scheme.
At its most basic, R&D needs to pass the following two key ‘gateway’ tests:
- A project seeks an advance in science and technology
- This takes place in the presence of scientific or technical uncertainty
Anything routine, or problems where a publicly available answer exists or that a competent professional can readily deduce will not be R&D- the advance must be a general one and not just advancing the company’s knowledge. A competent professional is expected to be experienced and knowledgeable in the field in which he works, and that knowledge would be expected to be up to date.
To provide an example of the sort of projects R&D covers, the definition below is taken directly from the appropriate definition documents:
"A project which seeks to, for example:
- extend overall knowledge or capability in a field of science or technology; or
- create a process, material, device, product or service which incorporates or represents an increase in overall knowledge or capability in a field of science or technology; or
- make an appreciable improvement to an existing process, material, device, product or service through scientific or technological changes; or
- use science or technology to duplicate the effect of an existing process, material, device, product or service in a new or appreciably improved way (e.g. a product that has exactly the same performance characteristics as existing models, but is built in a fundamentally different manner), will therefore be R&D."
This definition can extend to cover work in areas such as the ‘first build’ versions of software for use by the company or licensing to others (but not the creation of websites).
A project doesn’t have to succeed to be R&D- if a project meets the R&D criteria, even if it fails or is abandoned it would still qualify for R&D relief.
Qualifying expenditure deriving from a qualifying R&D project within the SME scheme will attract an enhanced credit of a further 130%, and the total relief can be used against company taxable profits for the year or to create or enhance a trading loss. This loss can be carried forward to set against later profits of the company or surrendered for a payable tax credit.
Having tried to work with two accountants/tax specialists previously and failing, I came across Mark Doodney.
When I spoke with him, I knew he was in another league to the others I had experienced beforehand.
After the first meeting, I was confident he was the right person for this complex case I found myself in, from an accountant of 20 years, fraudulent behaviour.
Mark is a clear communicator, direct, strategic, professional yet always available to discuss any concerns.
His 28 years of working for HMRC gives him a massive head start with knowing the machinery of HMRC and how to approach them and what will work in legitimate negotiation.
I couldn’t have asked for more dogged diligence from a professional and I was stunned at the results he achieved, squashing a large liability and reducing penalties to a minimum by combing through every detail and applying his extensive and intricate tax knowledge.
As far as I am concerned, Mark is a pure genius!
I would not hesitate to recommend him for anyone stressing over a tax investigation. If you are looking for best outcome and real value, look no further.
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Doodney Tax Consulting Ltd
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