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HMRC internal manual

COTAX Manual

HM Revenue & Customs
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Appeals: handling appeals and postponements: assessment appeals in responsible CT office

This subject is presented as follows.

Formal applications for postponement


A company must make an appeal and / or request for postponement in writing to the HMRC responsible 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 the company to make a late appeal.

If the appeal is valid, you use function HAPP (Handle Appeal) to record its receipt.

A company has no right of appeal against a revenue determination or a revenue correction of a return. See COM10001 for further information.

All open appeals are entered on LASO (Open Appeals and Informal Standovers List). For more information about this work list see COM11000 and COM140000 onwards.

Formal applications for postponement

A formal application for postponement may also be included with the appeal. ARTG2070 in the Appeals Reviews and Tribunals Guidance gives guidance to the decision maker on whether to accept an appeal, but doesn’t explicitly cover postponements. The postponement application is normally considered at the same time as the appeal by the decision maker.

Decision makers

Decision makers should consider the following points when deciding whether to accept a postponement application.

  • Carefully consider each postponement application on its own merits.
  • Look at the tax implications. For example, if the tax due is £20,000 and the company asks for it all to be postponed, is it likely that part of the tax will become payable in any event? If so, you must negotiate with the company or agent to agree a lesser postponement.
  • You must have very strong grounds for agreeing a formal postponement application against a jeopardy amendment as we have amended the company’s self assessment because of a likely loss of tax to the Crown.
  • Check to see if an avoidance scheme is present and where one is, consider whether delaying payment of tax is one of the objectives of the scheme.

Where you agree to the postponement application, you should use function HAPP (Handle Appeal) to record it on COTAX.

Identifying the case owner

Once a postponement has been recorded on COTAX, you must identify the case owner. This could be the decision maker, the caseworker or someone else with an interest or responsibility. The case owner must actively manage the postponement. See COM10120 for further guidance on what this means and the actions to take.

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Where the CT Unit Cumbernauld or the Debt Management office record a suspension in potential appeal cases, they send you the appropriate correspondence with form:

  • AOC385 from the CT Unit Cumbernauld
  • C52D from the Debt Management office.

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COTAX automatically issues the appropriate notification according to the details entered in function HAPP as follows.

  • 64-4(Ack) to confirm that the appeal has been received.
  • 64-4 to confirm agreement of the amount of the postponement.
  • 64-5(1) and (2) if you need to suggest an alternative amount to be postponed.
  • 64-5(3) if the Tribunal determines the amount to be postponed or the decision maker notifies it to the company.

On the final screen of Function HAPP, COTAX gives you the option of sending the appropriate form to the company, the agent or inhibiting the output.


  • COM10051 for a list of forms relevant to this subject
  • COM10052 for a list of functions to use in particular situations
  • COM10053 for legislation applying to this subject.