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HMRC internal manual

Appeals reviews and tribunals guidance

Reviews and appeals for direct taxes: Payment of tax pending the outcome of an appeal: Postponement applications

A customer who appeals against a decision may ask for payment of the amount of tax that they believe they are overcharged to be postponed until the appeal is settled (s 55(3) TMA 1970). For simple assessments, see ARTG2515.

If the customer tells the decision maker they cannot pay the tax charged, but does not dispute the amount, the decision maker should tell the customer to contact DMB on the phone number shown on the payment demand.

There must be a valid appeal before tax may be postponed, but see also ARTG2170.

The customer must apply to HMRC for postponement

  • in writing
  • within 30 days of the decision or assessment

A postponement application must set out the amount of the tax the customer believes to be overcharged and the reasons why they believe it is overcharged.

Note that any tax that is the subject of an accelerated payment notice cannot be postponed, and if the tax has already been postponed, the notice has the effect that it is no longer postponed.

The customer does not have to apply for postponement at the same time as they appeal against the decision or assessment, but the decision maker cannot accept a postponement application if there is no related appeal. Appeals and postponement applications must be made within the 30 day time limit, but see ARTG2520 about late postponement applications and ARTG2240 about late appeals.

If the postponement application is not received with an appeal the decision maker should check the appropriate computer record for the decision (for example the SA system) to make sure that the customer has appealed.

If not, the decision maker should contact the customer to clarify the situation. For example they may have sent an appeal which has not been received by the decision maker. If the customer does not intend to make an appeal the decision maker must refuse the request for postponement and explain their reasoning.

If the customer does not make an application for postponement the tax is payable in full whether or not they appeal. But the decision maker should be aware that some, especially unrepresented customers may make informal or implied applications to postpone payment and handle these in the same way as formal applications.

The decision maker should write to the customer to tell them whether or not they agree the postponement application or send the appropriate computer system notification. If the decision maker does not agree with the amount the customer has asked to be postponed, see ARTG2530.

In certain circumstances the decision maker may wish to resist any application for postponement by the customer, for example where we have raised a jeopardy amendment, see EM1953. If the customer does apply for postponement in these circumstances, se ARTG2530 about disputed postponement applications.

Where a customer has appealed against a penalty or surcharge, there is no formal arrangement in law for postponement of payment of the penalty / surcharge. However HMRC’s policy is that where a penalty or surcharge is under appeal, it should be informally stood over pending the settlement of the appeal, see ARTG2570.