This guide explains HMRC First Tier Tribunal rules for making an appeal to the tax tribunal. Find out what happens at First-tier tax tribunal hearings and what to do if you lose the case.
APPEAL TO THE TAX TRIBUNAL: First-tier tribunal rules apply to appeals and challenges on the decisions made by:
An appeal to the tax tribunal will be independent of the government in the United Kingdom.
Tribunals listen to both sides of a disagreement before they reach a final decision.
Note: You might also consider an alternative dispute resolution before making an appeal to the tax tribunal.
An appeal to the First-tier Tribunal gets heard in the 'Tax Chamber'. The types of decisions these appeals apply to include:
Note: You must make an appeal within the specified time limit. Your decision letter states the date of the deadline. A different system deals with appeals on decisions about Council Tax and Tax Credits.
As a rule you must pay what HMRC says you owe upfront. If you cannot pay, the correct procedure is for you to make a hardship application. You can still appeal to the tribunal (see below). This applies even if HM Revenue and Customs refuse your request to delay the payment.
Note: There is no need to pay upfront for appeals that relate to a tax penalty.
What happens if you consider your goods got taken (seized) without justification? In this case you must ask HMRC or UK Border Force to take the case to a magistrates' court.
This procedure is otherwise referred to as 'starting condemnation proceedings'.
As a rule you can appeal to the tribunal in circumstances where HMRC or Border Force:
Note: The first step is to ask HMRC or Border Force to reconsider their decision before you can begin an appeal. The responsibility of the tribunal is not to decide or determine whether goods got seized with or without good reason.
In some cases you can apply for a 'closure notice' if want it closed. It applies to enquiries opened by HMRC to check tax returns for 'direct taxation'.
The tribunal decides when HMRC must close the enquiry. But, closure notices are not allowed on tax returns that are getting checked for 'indirect tax'.
In some cases, it could be the National Crime Agency (NCA) who checks your tax return and not HMRC. This is most likely if they suspect that you have been laundering money.
Note: You can appeal an NCA decision if you do not agree with the decision by writing to them 'directly'.
National Crime Agency
Units 1 - 6 Citadel Place
London SE11 5EF
You can choose to represent yourself. But, it may be better to find a tax adviser, an accountant, or a lawyer to help when you appeal. You can also get free advice from:
Most people find it easier to make an appeal to the tax tribunal online. The same digital service applies for applications to close an enquiry. If you are appealing a tax tribunal online you will need:
Note: There is a specific authorisation form for a person to represent you unless they are a practising barrister or solicitor.
The government website GOV.UK has an 'HMRC formfinder' section. You can download and fill in the form and then return it by postal methods to the address written on the form.
The tax tribunal helpline can give further help and advice about your appeal. But, the staff are unable to provide legal advice.
Tax Tribunal Helpline
Telephone: 0300 123 1024
Monday to Friday: 8:30am to 5pm
Check call charges for 0300 numbers.
A letter sent to you from the tribunal will explain what happens next. In some instances they may ask for further documentation to support the case.
You can ask for a hearing even though some cases go ahead without one. As a rule you will get at least two weeks of notice before the hearing takes place. The tribunal will send further information of any steps you need to take.
When you have a hearing you need to bring copies of all the documents which are relevant to the appeal. That includes your notice of appeal, letters of correspondence, accounts papers and invoices. Remember to bring the decision made by HMRC and any response that you made to that decision.
If HMRC send you a 'bundle' of their documents before you get to the hearing, you should bring those with you as well. This happens most often when your case is 'standard or complex'.
The people who are present at the public tribunal hearing will be the tribunal panel. As a rule, the panel can include a judge, a tribunal clerk, and a tax expert. You also have the right to bring:
Either you (or your representative) will present your case to the tribunal. This is your opportunity to explain:
Representatives from the other party will also have a chance to present their case. The tribunal panel and the other party may also ask you some questions during the hearing.
As a rule, you will get the decision made at the tribunal:
Note: You may be able to 'get a decision set aside' or ask for permission to appeal if you lose your case.
If you think there was a mistake in the process you may ask for a decision to be 'set aside' or cancelled. The letter you get with the decision informs you how to get a decision set aside. You can also contact Citizens Advice for further help.
The most likely reason to appeal against the decision is if the tribunal made a legal mistake. It could be that they did not apply the law correctly or they failed to fully explain their decision.
The address for sending the appeal form is:
First-tier Tribunal (Tax Chamber)
PO Box 16972
Birmingham B16 6TZ
Telephone: 0300 123 1024
Monday to Friday: 8:30am to 5pm
Find out about telephone call charges.
A judge then decides whether you can take the case to a higher tribunal. This would be the Upper Tribunal (Tax and Chancery). You can then appeal to the Upper Tribunal if you get permission from the judge.
You may apply to the Upper Tribunal for permission to appeal if the First-tier Tribunal refuses. The same applies if they only give you permission to appeal on limited grounds.
The tribunal must follow certain legislation on its decisions for all previous cases.
The tribunal must follow the Tribunal Procedure (First-tier Tribunal) (Tax Chamber) Rules 2009. The tribunal was set up by the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007 and Transfer of Tribunal Functions and Revenue and Customs Appeals Order 2009.
How to make an Appeal to the Tax Tribunal in the United Kingdom