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HMRC internal manual

Appeals reviews and tribunals guidance

Reviews and appeals for direct taxes: appealing to the tribunal: customer sends tribunal appeal to HMRC

Where a customer wants to appeal against HMRC’s decision, they must send an appeal to HMRC within 30 days of the date they receive our formal decision notice, such as the notice of assessment, amendment, closure notice or determination.

If they decide that they would like their appeal to be considered by the tribunal they must notify their appeal to the tribunal within the time limit, see ARTG2420.

If the customer sends a Tribunals Service appeal form to HMRC instead of to the Tribunals Service the decision maker should check first whether the customer has already appealed to HMRC.

If the customer has already appealed to HMRC the decision maker should pass the Tribunals Service appeal form back to the customer, telling them to send the form to the Tribunals Service and offering them further information such as HMRC’s factsheet HMRC 1 (PDF 56KB), or the Tribunals Service guidance.

If the customer has not already appealed to HMRC, it may be possible to treat this as an appeal to HMRC. The decision maker should contact the customer to check what their intentions were. For example

  • did they intend to notify an appeal to the tribunal and send the Tribunals Service appeals form to us by mistake
  • did they intend to appeal to HMRC but used the Tribunals Service appeals form by mistake
  • have they sent the appeal form to HMRC and to the Tribunals Service at the same time so that they can proceed straight to a tribunal hearing.

If the customer intended to appeal to the tribunal, the decision maker should explain to the customer that they must appeal to HMRC first, but that we will accept their Tribunals Service appeal form as fulfilling this requirement (if necessary saying what further information we need to be able to do this), but we will return the form so that they can send it to the tribunal.

If more than 30 days have passed since the date the customer received our formal decision notice, the decision maker should also explain the circumstances in which HMRC may accept a late appeal, see ARTG2240.

If they are not sure whether the customer has fully understood their rights, the decision maker should also explain, where appropriate, that once a customer has appealed to HMRC (or if a late appeal is accepted) they will be entitled to a review, which may mean that the hearing becomes unnecessary. And the customer will of course be able to notify the tribunal of an appeal following a review conclusion, see ARTG4820.

Alternatively (assuming we are able to accept their appeal), if they want to take matters to the tribunal they may do so, and if so they should send the form to the tribunal.