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HMRC internal manual

Appeals reviews and tribunals guidance

First-tier and Upper Tribunals: The tribunal hearing: Evidence

The facts of the case will be presented at the hearing and it is important that relevant evidence is available to confirm the facts.

The tribunal’s caseworker (direct taxes) or Solicitor’s Office (indirect taxes) will ask the decision maker to provide documents that they will produce at the hearing as evidence. In Standard and Complex cases before the First-tier Tribunal this will form the basis of the list of documents we sent to the tribunal and other parties, see ARTG8390. Certain documents will be considered as evidence in every case where they exist. These are:

  • a copy of the decision or assessment
  • a copy of the review officer’s conclusion of review letter, see ARTG4820.

The tribunal may give directions relating to

  • issues on which it requires evidence or submissions,
  • the nature of evidence or submissions it requires
  • whether the parties are allowed or required to provide expert evidence, and if so whether the parties must jointly appoint a single expert
  • any limit of the number of witnesses a party may have in relation to a particular issue or generally
  • the manner in which the evidence or submissions are required, for example orally at the hearing or in writing
  • when the evidence or submissions must be provided.

The tribunal can on its own initiative, or on the application of either party amend, suspend or set aside any directions it has made.

The tribunal may admit evidence whether or not it would be admissible in a civil trial in the UK and the Upper Tribunal may admit evidence whether or not it was available to a previous decision maker.

The tribunal may refuse to admit evidence where

  • it was not provided in the time allowed in the tribunal’s direction
  • it was not provided in the manner required by the tribunal’s direction
  • it would be unfair to admit the evidence.

The tribunal may allow a witness to give evidence on oath (or affirm) or require a witness to give evidence on oath and may provide an oath to be used. It is an offence, punishable by fine or imprisonment, for a witness to make any statement to the tribunal on oath or affirmation which he knows to be false or does not believe to be true (Perjury Act 1911 s1(1), 15(2)).