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HMRC internal manual

COTAX Manual

Appeals: handling appeals and postponements: introduction

Apart from appeals relating to enquiry procedures, which are dealt with in the Enquiry Manual, a company may appeal against:

  • a revenue amendment
  • a jeopardy amendment
  • a discovery assessment
  • a discovery determination
  • a penalty determination
  • a caseworker’s amendment of a claim.

A company cannot appeal against:

  • a revenue determination of tax liability in the absence of a return
  • a correction of a return.


When a company appeals against an assessment or amendment of an assessment, it may apply to postpone payment of some or all of the tax charged.

A company must make an appeal and request for postponement in writing to the HMRC office. You can accept an appeal made by email if you are satisfied that it has been sent by the company or their agent from a known and trusted email address.

The time limit for making an appeal is:

  • within 30 days from the date of issue of the notice for discovery assessments
  • within 30 days after the amendment was notified to the company for jeopardy and revenue amendments.

There is also provision for companies to make late appeals.

Late-filing penalties

The postponement provisions do not apply to penalty determinations. When you record an appeal, COTAX automatically stands over the penalties charged by a penalty determination but not yet paid. This means that pursuit is not possible while a penalty is under appeal.

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Informal standover

You can informally stand over a tax charge. Informal standovers have no legal basis and are therefore different to formal postponements of tax. When you stand over an amount informally, COTAX does not send output to the company.

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Considering and managing postponements and standovers

As part of its duty of collection and management of Corporation Tax, HMRC must be able to provide assurance that all postponements and standovers are appropriately made and managed. This ensures that money due is received at the appropriate time and passed to the Exchequer.

All postponements and standovers must therefore be:

  • carefully considered to determine if they are acceptable or not. See COM10050 for more information
  • actively managed. See COM10120 for further guidance.

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Determination of appeals

Appeals can be

  • determined by agreement between you and the company
  • determined by the Tribunal
  • withdrawn by the company.

Once they have sent an appeal to HMRC the company may:

  • have a review, whether by accepting our offer or by requesting a review (see ARTG4000 onwards)
  • notify the appeal to the Tribunal (see ARTG2400 onwards).

They may notify their appeal to the Tribunal at any time after sending their appeal to HMRC, unless they have accepted an offer of a review (ARTG4220) or asked for a review and the decision maker has written to them with our view of the matter (ARTG4290).

For general information on appeals and postponements see the Appeals, Reviews and Tribunals Guidance (ARTG) Manual. See COM23130 for guidance on handling appeals against non-COTAX charges.