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HMRC internal manual

Decisions and appeals for National Insurance Contributions and Statutory Payments

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Tribunals Reform from 1 April 2009

As part of a wider programme of tribunal reform being taken forward by the Ministry of Justice’s Tribunals Reform, the Tribunal, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007 (TCEA) created a new tribunal system to replace some tribunals across government. It put in place a framework for a two-tier tribunal system with specialist Chambers handling particular types of appeal.

The Tax Chamber brought together matters previously heard by the General and Special Commissioners as well as other tax tribunals which existed before 1 April 2009. This included appeals against National Insurance contributions, employment status and statutory payments decisions.

The tribunal system consists of two tiers

  • the First-tier Tribunal, and
  • the Upper Tribunal.

The First-tier Tribunal hears most appeals in the first instance. Appeals against the First-tier Tribunal’s decisions are referred to the Upper Tribunal with permission from the First-tier Tribunal and on a point of law.

Appeals against the decisions of the Upper Tribunal are referred to the relevant appellate court with permission from the Upper Tribunal and on a point of law, where the relevant appellate court is the

  • Court of Appeal in England and Wales,
  • Court of Session in Scotland,
  • Court of Appeal in Northern Ireland.

A small number of appeals may be heard by the Upper Tribunal in the first instance, but these will be on the agreement of the parties and the consent of the Chamber President. These appeals are likely to be where there are substantial and complex points of law and limited facts to be found.

At the same time as appeals against HMRC decisions transferred into the Tax Chamber, HMRC introduced a new statutory review process (see DANSP55000 and ARTG02010), with the aim of settling disputes more quickly and cost-effectively.

The Tax Chamber has been in operation from 1 April 2009.

For more information about appeals and reviews from 1 April 2009 refer to the Appeals Reviews and Tribunals guidance.