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HMRC internal manual

Self Assessment Manual

Appeals, postponements and reviews: postponements: introduction

Postponements are described as standovers in the SA system. Function MAINTAIN STANDOVERS is available to support the postponement of liability.

All or part of a charge on a taxpayer’s SA record may be postponed following

  • The receipt of a postponement application


  • A decision to informally standover collection of the liability

There are two types of standover. Both must be recorded on the taxpayer’s SA record. They are

  • Formal standovers


  • Informal standovers

It is important to understand the differences between the two types of standover and the procedures for recording them onto the SA record. 

Formal standover 

If a taxpayer has a legal right to apply for the postponement of all or part of an SA charge this will be dealt with by formal standover. A formal standover must always be related to an appeal. The only SA charges against which a formal standover may be recorded are those arising from a

Informal standover 

If it is decided to standover all or part of an SA charge, but the taxpayer has no legal right to apply for postponement, this will be dealt with by informal standover. The main examples of the use of informal standovers are in relation to fixed automatic penalties and surcharges. The taxpayer can appeal against these but has no right to apply for postponement of the charge. However, until the appeal is determined, in certain circumstances, HMRC will informally standover collection of the charge. However, before taking action you should refer to the guidance on how to deal with `Appeals’ at SAM61290 and SAM10080.

The distinction between formal and informal standovers is dealt with in more detail in the subject ‘What are formal and informal standovers?’ (SAM11010).

Work Lists 

Work List entries are created for standovers as follows

  • A formal standover creates an item on the ‘Open Appeals’ Work List. (Also created by recording an appeal)
  • An informal standover creates an item on the ‘Review Informal Standover’ Work List

Procedures for handling the Work Lists are subject to local arrangements.