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HMRC internal manual

Appeals reviews and tribunals guidance

Review of direct and indirect taxes decisions: arranging for a review: HMRC offer of a review (direct taxes)

HMRC may offer the customer a review of their decision or assessment if the customer has appealed against it.

If the customer has appealed against HMRC’s decision or assessment and the decision maker has had further discussions with the customer, and / or has decided that no more progress is likely to be made towards settlement of the appeal, the decision maker should write to the customer and offer them a review.

Where a customer has an agent acting, they should send a copy of their letter offering a review to the agent: the review offer letter must always be sent directly to the customer, even if we routinely deal with the agent.

The letter offering the customer a review must set out HMRC’s current view of the matter.

If our view has not changed since the appeal was made, this may simply mean

  • explaining that we are required by law to confirm our most recent view of the matter, and
  • saying that our view remains as set out in our decision letter of [date].

If our view has changed, we should set out those points which we consider are resolved, what is outstanding, and our view on the appropriate tax treatment off any unresolved matters, including, if appropriate, the amount of tax we think may be due.

This is so that the customer knows which points (if any), the decision maker considers have been agreed during their negotiations and those which are still in dispute. In addition, if there is no ‘current view’ the offer is not valid, see ARTG2216.

The letter should clearly explain what the customer should do if they disagree with HMRC’s position as stated in the review offer letter. If they disagree they have 30 days from the date of the letter offering them a review within which to

  • accept the offer of review, or
  • notify the appeal to the tribunal

The letter should explain clearly who the customer should write to if they want to accept the offer of a review (usually the decision maker) and invite the customer to make any representations they may wish to make in support of their position.

It should also explain that if they neither accept the offer of a review nor notify the appeal to the tribunal, the appeal will be treated as settled on the basis of our view of the matter, see ARTG2220.

If the customer does not accept the review but sends in further information see ARTG4280.

The offer of a review is a means of making progress in the case - once a review is offered, a chain of events is begun which will result in resolution of the case. Either

  • the customer accepts the conclusions of the review, in which case the appeal is treated as settled (s 49F(2) TMA 1970), or
  • the customer opts for a review, receives the conclusion and does not notify an appeal to the tribunal, in which case the review conclusion will stand, or
  • the customer notifies an appeal to the tribunal (before or after a review), in which case the appeal will be formally resolved by the tribunal, or
  • the customer does not reply, in which case the appeal is treated as settled (s 49C(4) TMA 1970).

See ARTG4300 about late acceptances of a review offer and ARTG2240 about late appeals.