20210712 Tax litigation before the Board of Review and higher courts
Recently, officers in the assessing section of the Hong Kong Inland Revenue Department have taken a tough stance in handling tax disputes: it is increasingly difficult to negotiate reasonable settlements and assessing practice has become more aggressive. Tax practitioners now face a choice of either accepting the IRD’s position or otherwise progressing the dispute by taking their appeal to the Board of Review or even to the higher courts. If the taxpayer decides to mount an appeal, it will in general be advisable and, for appeals to the higher courts, mandatory, to instruct a legal practitioner. But when is the right time to involve a legal practitioner in a tax dispute and what are the benefits?
This session will introduce and discuss the procedure, law, and strategy of tax appeals before the Board of Review and the higher courts of Hong Kong. In a session aimed squarely at practitioners interested in tax dispute resolution, we shall consider in detail the technical, tactical, and factual issues that emerge from litigating the IRD, and aim to provide commercial and incisive responses to some common issues and problems. Among the topics of discussion, we shall consider:
- Analysing the Commissioner’s determination, and drafting effective notices of appeal;
- Evidential and factual issues and how the rules of evidence apply to tax cases;
- Witness statements, examination-in-chief and cross-examination of witnesses;
- Appealing decisions of the Board of Review to the Court of First Instance or to the Court of Appeal;
- The function and role of the appellate court and the distinction between questions of fact and questions of law; and
- Oral and written advocacy – practical tips and observations.
The session will be presented by Stefano Mariani, an experienced litigator and advocate in tax matters, and moderated by Philip Hung, Adviser and Past President of The Taxation Institute of Hong Kong, and also a Director of Tax Controversy Services in PricewaterhouseCoopers Ltd.