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How to appeal against a tax decision

Source: HM Revenue & Customs | | 14/11/2017

It is not unusual for taxpayers to find themselves in a position where they disagree with a tax decision made by HMRC. There are a number of different options open to taxpayers seeking to use the review and appeals process.

Note, there is a separate procedure to be followed by taxpayers to make a complaint about HMRC for issues such as unreasonable delays, mistakes and poor treatment by HMRC’s staff.

As a first step, it is possible to make an appeal against a tax decision. There is normally a 30-day deadline for making a claim, so time is of the essence. HMRC will then carry out a review, usually by using HMRC officers that were not involved in the original decision. A response to an appeal is usually made within 45 days but can take longer for complex issues.

If the taxpayers still disagree with HMRC’s review, there are further options available which include making a formal appeal to the tax tribunal or using the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) process. The ADR uses independent HMRC facilitators to help resolve disputes between HMRC and the taxpayer. The use of the ADR seeks to find a fair and quick outcome for both parties, helping to reduce costs and avoid a Tribunal case. However, in some cases the cost and effort of going to Tribunal can be worthwhile.

Planning note

Apart from missing critical deadlines, appealing decisions with HMRC is not a process for the faint of heart. We would recommend seeking our professional advice in the first instance to help ascertain, if there is indeed any scope for appealing a decision and to discuss the best way forward.

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