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HMRC internal manual

Appeals reviews and tribunals guidance

Applications to the tribunal: Joint applications to the tribunal

Any questions arising in connection with the subject matter of an enquiry into a customer’s IT or CT Self Assessment return may be referred to the tribunal to decide the matter by way of a joint application made by HMRC and the customer, but these applications are rare (it is more likely that partial closure notices will be used).

The matter(s) referred to the tribunal

  • must be relevant to the subject of the enquiry, and

the application

  • may be made at any time from the date HMRC gave notice of the enquiry into the return until the date the enquiry is completed
  • is made jointly by HMRC and the customer
  • must be made in writing
  • must state the matter(s) being referred.

More than one application can be made during an enquiry.

Refusal to join an application

HMRC can refuse to join in on an application that a customer wants to make and the customer can refuse to join HMRC. There is no right of appeal against a refusal but either party may then decide to progress the issue by means of partial closure, see EM2160.

Withdrawal of an application

Either party may withdraw the application before the tribunal hearing. Any withdrawal must be made in writing to the other part and the tribunal.

Closure of the enquiry

Once a joint application has been made to the tribunal the enquiry cannot be closed until the matter referred on the application has been decided. So

  • HMRC cannot issue a partial closure notice in relation to the matter referred or a final closure notice until the tribunal has decided the matter referred on the application and the appeal period has passed or any appeals have been decided or the application has been withdrawn
  • The customer cannot ask the tribunal for a direction requiring HMRC to issue a partial closure notice in relation to the matter referred, or
  • Ask the tribunal for a direction requiring HMRC to issue a final closure notice as part of their application.

Appeals against tribunal’s decision

The decision of the tribunal on the matter is binding on the parties to the application in the same way, and to the same extent, as a decision on a preliminary issue is an appeal. Either party may appeal against the tribunal’s decision on a point of law.

Any appeal against the enquiry conclusion (ITSA only) or amendment cannot reopen a matter which has been referred to the tribunal and has been decided.