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HMRC internal manual

Appeals reviews and tribunals guidance

HM Revenue & Customs
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First-tier and Upper Tribunals: Preparing for tribunal: Default Paper cases



In Basic, Standard and Complex cases customers and HMRC will be invited to present their case at a tribunal hearing, see ARTG8600 onwards. But appeals in the Default Paper category will be decided on the basis of information given on the papers alone, unless one of the parties asks for a hearing.

When the Tribunals Service allocates the appeal to the Default Paper category it will write to HMRC with a copy of the appeal, and ask for a statement of case.

HMRC statement of case

For appeals within the Default Paper category HMRC must send a statement of case to the tribunal and a copy to the customer within 42 days of the date the Tribunals Service sent us a copy of the customer’s notice of appeal to the tribunal.

The statement of case must

  • in an appeal, state the legal provision under which the appealed decision was made, and
  • set out HMRC’s position on the issues in dispute.

We should include any relevant information relating to the decision appealed against, including copies of documents where appropriate.

We may also (exceptionally) include a request that the case be dealt with at a hearing, rather than on the basis of paper submissions alone. Any cases where the tribunals caseworker intends to request a hearing should be referred to Tax Administration Advice (Appeals) for advice.

We should make every effort to meet the tribunal time limits. But if we cannot provide the statement of case within the 42 day time limit we should ask for an extension of time.

To do this we would apply for a direction that the time be extended (tribunal rule 5(3)(a) SI 273/2009) or by including with the statement of case a request for an extension of time.

The request for an extension should give reasons for the request and an explanation of why the statement of case was not provided within the time limit. The tribunal will not automatically agree to an extension of the time limit, and it has the discretion to decide the matter without a statement of case being prepared. So it is important that, if we make a request for an extension, we provide good reasons why the time limit was not met, and we should include within the statement of case an explanation of the reasons why it was not submitted on time.

Appellant’s response to the statement of case

The appellant may send a reply to HMRC’s statement of case to the tribunal within 30 days of the date HMRC sent its statement of case to them. The reply may include

  • their response to HMRC’s statement of case,
  • any further relevant information that has not yet been provided to the tribunal, including documents containing relevant information, and
  • a request for the case to be dealt with at a hearing.

If they send any of the information or papers mentioned above to the tribunal they must copy it to HMRC at the same time.

If the customer wishes to reply but cannot do so within the time limit they may ask for an extension of the time limit, giving reasons for the request and an explanation of why their response was not provided within the time limit.

Neither HMRC nor the customer can send any further evidence or arguments after this point (unless the tribunal gives permission for them to do so) and the tribunal will decide the appeal without a hearing, unless a hearing has been requested.

Hearing requested in Default Paper case

If a customer notifies an appeal to the tribunal which is allocated to the Default Paper category, both parties are entitled to ask for the appeal to be dealt with at a hearing, rather than on the basis of paper submissions alone. If either party asks for a hearing the tribunal must hold a hearing to decide the case.

When the Tribunals Service receives a request from a party to hold a hearing in a Default Paper case, it will usually arrange to a hearing and the appropriate rules and procedures for the Basic category will apply.