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HMRC internal manual

Enquiry Manual

Penalties: Appeals: Introduction



Appeals are made to the First-tier Tribunal for all the penalties determined by Officers of the Board, whether fixed, automatic, daily or tax geared. In the first instance, most appeals will be heard by the First-tier Tribunal although in a very small number of cases the Tribunals Service may refer the appeal to the Upper Tribunal for hearing in the first instance. For further guidance see ARTG8050.

The provisions relating to appeals against assessments apply so that

  • the appeal must be in writing. Form 64-7 includes a box for appeals against determinations of all kinds but it is not necessary for an appeal to be on this form.
  • the appeal must be made within 30 days of the date of issue of the determination (subject to the provisions of Section 49 on late appeals).
  • the appeal should specify the grounds for appeal (but as for assessments this requirement should not normally be interpreted strictly).

Such appeals will often be based on TMA70/S118(2) EM5150+ and may involve

  • claims that extra time has been allowed EM5151 or
  • claims to reasonable excuse EM5152+ or
  • doubts over the service of the return EM4621.

Every notice imposing one of the fixed automatic late filing penalties will be accompanied by a leaflet which explains to taxpayers what to do if they wish to appeal. The leaflet enclosed with the notice has an appeal form attached on which space is provided for the taxpayer to state the grounds for the appeal.

All appeals are to be examined immediately on receipt and, if they cannot be accepted, the penalty should be stood over informally EM5302.

Where the grounds for the appeal are not stated you should invite the taxpayer to provide the necessary details. If the grounds for an appeal are clearly unacceptable, you should explain the reasons and invite the taxpayer to withdraw it. Where however the appeal is not withdrawn, you should write to the taxpayer and offer them a review of the decision to impose a penalty. If they do not want a review, or do not agree with the conclusion of the review, they can notify their appeal to the tribunal to settle the matter. If they do not accept the offer of a review or notify their appeal to the tribunal within 30 days of the review offer, the appeal is treated as settled under S54 TMA.