If HMRC didn’t act on information they were given

You can ask HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) to cancel tax you owe (‘arrears’) if you think they’ve made a mistake because they didn’t act on information they had.

This guide is also available in Welsh (Cymraeg).

You can do this by asking for an ‘extra-statutory concession’ (‘ESC A19’) if you owe:

  • Income Tax, for example because you were on the wrong tax code
  • Capital Gains Tax
  • Class 4 National Insurance contributions


You can ask for an ESC A19 if all of the following apply:

  • HMRC haven’t used tax information provided to them, for example about a change of income or job
  • HMRC told you about the tax you owe more than 12 months after the end of the tax year in which they received your information
  • you have a reasonable belief that your tax affairs are up to date

The tax information could have come from:

  • you
  • your employer
  • the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP)

Self Assessment

You can’t normally cancel tax owed via Self Assessment, unless there are exceptional circumstances, for example where HMRC:

  • told you about 2 or more years of PAYE tax owed
  • failed to act on information you’ve given them more than once

How to make a claim

Call or write to HMRC to make a claim.

You should do this before you pay any of the tax you owe. But if you’ve already made a payment, HMRC may be able to refund it.

You must tell HMRC:

  • which arrears you’re disputing, including the tax year
  • the information HMRC should have acted on and when it was provided
  • why you thought your tax was up to date

You may be able to delay paying a penalty until your appeal has been settled.

If you disagree with HMRC’s decision

You can ask for the decision to be reviewed if you don’t agree with the outcome.