Tax Tribunals

Where direct taxes are in dispute, usually your appeal will be settled by reaching an agreement. HMRC will consider your reasons for appealing and may agree to amend their decision. This will be confirmed in writing and you will have 30 days to accept or decline the amendment, before the tax or penalty adjustment is applied.

If there is no agreement you can ask either for a review by HMRC or apply for a hearing by an independent tribunal. The revew will be by another tax officer who has had no prior involvement in the case. Time limits apply throughout the review process but normally the process is completed within 45 days. If you don’t agree with the outcome of the review, you may then appeal to the First-Tier Tribunal.

Procedures at the Tax Tribunal require the taxpayer to disprove a case put forward by HMRC. It is the responsibility of the taxpayer to disprove HMRC's contention, not for HMRC to prove its case! Achieving this requires the taxpayer's representative to have not just an understanding of the law, but also the advocacy skills to design the counter case and to present it effectively at Tribunal.

That tribunals are informal does not however detract from the fact that they are very real courts of law. Tribunal judges are legally-qualified and tribunal members are specialist non-legal members of the panel. If you have not been offered a review, you can apply to the tribunal at any time after sending your appeal to HMRC.

However, if you have been offered a review and do not want one, you must apply to the tribunal within 30 days of the review offer. Equally, if you wish to contest a review decision, your application to the tribunal must also be made within 30 days of the review decision. If you are unhappy with the result of any appeal to the tribunal, you may be able appeal against it if the decision is wrong in law and the tribunal gives permission. The Upper Tribunal usually hears appeals against First-tier Tribunal decisions. If there is no right of appeal, your final option is to apply for a judicial review, which can be very costly.

We have an excellent record in defending our clients when they have been unable to reach an agreement with HMRC and have built an enviable reputation as their committed and fierce advocates.

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