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HMRC internal manual

Tax Credits Manual

From
HM Revenue & Customs
Updated
, see all updates

Appeals stages: Appeals stage 1 - initial appeal action

Checklist

Before you follow this guidance make sure

  • you follow the guidance in TCM0138020 
  • you have the correct user roles to follow this guidance. Use the B&C Roles and Access Catalogue. You can find this by going to the Benefits & Credits homepage, selecting ‘R’ on the B&C A-Z index, selecting ‘Roles and Access Process’, selecting ‘Roles & Access Catalogue’ from the Related links menu
  • you have access to the Appeals database.

Background

Most tax credit decision notices carry appeal rights and will advise the customer accordingly.

Note: From 6 April 2014 HMRC are introducing a change to the appeals process for tax credits. If a customer does not agree with a decision on their entitlement, they will have to ask HMRC to reconsider the decision before they can appeal to Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunal Service (HMCTS). This is known as a Mandatory Reconsideration.

The notices issued prior to April 2014 tell the customer to phone the Tax Credits Helpline if they want to appeal. The Contact Centre adviser must check the details, explain the notice to the caller and amend the details if necessary. A new decision, carrying fresh appeal rights, will be sent as a result.

If the Contact Centre adviser is not able to change the details and the customer still wants to appeal, the adviser will issue an appeal form WTC/AP. The appeal has to be in writing, within 30 days of the notice of the decision being sent and the adviser will inform the customer of this.

An appeal must be made in writing on form WTC/AP or by letter. The customer does not need to mention the word appeal. The appeal must:

  • be made against a notice of decision that carries appeal rights
  • be signed by the customer, their partner or authorised representative

Note: If the customer has an authorised representative, the authorised representative can appeal providing they have authority to act on the customer’s behalf. Check Household Notes for authority to act, for how to do this use TCM1000067.

  • contain sufficient information to identify the notice of the decision under appeal
  • be made in time
  • give reasons why the customer does not agree with the notice.

Decisions that carry a right of appeal are:

  • initial decisions on whether to award tax credits and the rate at which to pay
  • revised decisions made in response to the customer telling the Tax Credits Office (TCO) about a change of circumstances
  • other decisions revised and made by the Board of HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) decisions on entitlement made after an enquiry by the Board
  • discovery decisions made in consequence of a customer’s income tax liability being revised
  • revisions due to official error
  • decisions made after the issue of a final notice
  • decisions made to impose penalties
  • decisions made to charge interest on overpaid tax credits
  • decisions made where a Statement of Account (SOA) has been issued and the case has been terminated or ceased because the customer has not provided bank details.

Guidance

Note: When sending customer, staff or process data to another individual or team, make sure you follow the latest data security guidelines or contact the Data Guardian or Data Security Team for advice.

Note: At the end of this process you will be asked to complete a coversheet. You may wish to keep notes on your check sheet to help you update the relevant coversheet when requested. If the case is Complex or EEA, staff complete a slip and attach it to the appeal/MR and the Registration team then fill out the appropriate coversheet.

Step 1

The Correspondence Team must first check if the customer is actually appealing against a tax credit decision by reading the information in the form WTC/AP or the letter.

If the customer is appealing against a tax credits decision, go to .

If the customer is not appealing against a tax credit decision 

  • send the form or letter to the relevant team, following local procedures

Note: The case worker on the Sift and Sort team will check what the customer has written in their letter or what is held in Household Notes to identify what the issue is if it is not an appeal and then re-direct accordingly with a MS2000 re-direct form explaining why it is being sent to them to action.

  • take no further action.

If you are dealing with an expired BF date for the form TC2012 

  • register the appeal on the database as ‘Not Duly Made’, following local procedures
  • complete the appropriate coloured coversheet, following local procedures
  • update Household Notes with the message AC31 from TCM0156020, for how to do this use TCM1000001 
  • send the papers to the Response Team, following local procedures
  • take no further action.

If you are dealing with a returned TC2012, go to .

If you have now received authority to act for the customer from an authorised representative, go to .

If you are dealing with an expired BF date for authority to act for the customer from an authorised representative 

  • register the appeal on the Appeals database, following local procedures
  • complete the appropriate coloured coversheet, following local procedures
  • send the case papers to the Response Team, following local procedures
  • take no further action.

If you are dealing with an appeal from HMCTS 

  • register the Appeal on NTC, for how to do this use TCM1000444 
  • update Household Notes with the message AC35 from TCM0156020, for how to do this use TCM1000001 
  • update the response tab on the Appeal database, following local procedures
  • refer the case papers to the Response Writer for submission to HMCTS, following local procedures
  • take no further action.

Step 2

Check if the form WTC/AP or the letter contains a Subject Access Request (SAR).

If there is a SAR

  • send a photocopy of the form WTC/AP or the letter to the SAR Team (This content has been withheld because of exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act 2000)
  • go to .

If there is not a SAR, go to .

Step 3

Check the date of the decision that the customer is appealing about, for how to do this use TCM1000119.

If the date of the decision is before 6 April 2014, go to .

If the date of the decision is on or after 6 April 2014, follow the guidance in TCM0014020.

Step 4

Check that the form WTC/AP or the letter has been signed by the customer or authorised representative.

Note: Any person to whom the decision notice is addressed can appeal. In a joint claim, only one customer needs to sign it.

Note: If the customer has an authorised representative, the authorised representative can appeal on the customer’s behalf providing that they have authority to act on the customer’s behalf. Check Household Notes for authority to act, for how to do this use TCM1000067.

If the appeal has been signed by the customer, go to .

If the appeal has not been signed by the customer or authorised representative 

  • photocopy the original correspondence and keep a copy with the case papers
  • retain a copy of TC2012
  • return the original appeal correspondence to the customer or authorised representative with form TC2012
  • update Household Notes with the message AC03 from TCM0156020, for how to do this use TCM1000001 
  • place the case papers in BF for 30 days
  • take no further action.

If the appeal has been signed by an authorised representative, go to .

Step 5

Check the form WTC/AP or the letter and determine which decision the appeal is against.

If you have identified the decision, go to .

If you have not identified the decision  

  • photocopy the original correspondence and keep a copy with the case papers
  • retain a copy of TC2012
  • return the original appeal correspondence to the customer or authorised representative with form TC2012
  • update Household Notes with the message AC03 from TCM0156020, for how to do this use TCM1000001 
  • place the case papers in BF for 30 days
  • take no further action.

Step 6

Check if the authorised representative has attached the relevant documentation showing they have authority to act.

If the authorised representative has attached the relevant documentation, go to .

If the authorised representative has not attached the relevant documentation 

  • pass the appeal to the AA admin team(This content has been withheld because of exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act 2000)  

Note: If the appeal comes back (This content has been withheld because of exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act 2000) with no authority to act, BF for 2 weeks to give the customer the opportunity to return the forms.

  • take no further action.

Step 7

Check that the TC2012 has been signed.

If the TC2012 has been signed by the customer or authorised representative, go to .

If the TC2012 has not been signed by the customer or authorised representative 

  • register the appeal on the database as ‘Not Duly Made’, following local procedures
  • complete the appropriate coloured coversheet, following local procedures
  • update Household Notes with the message AC31 from TCM0156020, for how to do this use TCM1000001 
  • send the papers to the Response Team, following local procedures
  • take no further action.

Step 8

Check the TC2012 and determine if the customer or authorised representative have stated which decision they are appealing against.

If you have identified which decision the customer or authorised representative are appealing against, go to .

If you have not identified which decision the customer or authorised representative are appealing against 

  • register the appeal on the database as ‘Not Duly Made’, following local procedures
  • complete the appropriate coloured coversheet, following local procedures
  • update Household Notes with the message AC31 from TCM0156020, for how to do this use TCM1000001 
  • send the papers to the Response Team, following local procedures
  • take no further action.

Step 9

Check if the award notice has been system-issued or manually-issued, for how to do this use TCM1000441 and TCM1000067.

Note: If a manual award notice or a duplicate award notice has been issued, the messages MM37 or XN03 will be contained in Household Notes.

Note: In cases where a no reply required Annual Declaration has been issued (Auto Renewal), a final decision is considered to have been made on 1SD (specified date) and there are appeal rights.

If there is an Issue Date, go to .

If there is not an Issue Date

  • send the customer or authorised representative a manual award notice using the Manual Award Notice Creator
  • send the customer or authorised representative a form WTC/AP
  • send the customer or authorised representative a TC1163 explaining to them that they will need to appeal against the decision on the manual award notice, if they disagree with it
  • update Household Notes with the appropriate message OE20 or OE21 from TCM0166020, for how to do this use TCM1000001 
  • take no further action.

Step 10

Check if there is Compliance activity, for how to this use guidance in TCM0134420.

If there is Compliance activity, go to .

If there is no Compliance activity, go to .

Step 11

Access Household Notes to check if the customer is appealing against a Compliance decision, for how to do this use TCM1000067.

If the appeal is against a Compliance decision

  • send the case papers to the relevant Compliance Officer, following local procedures
  • update Household Notes with the message AC14 from TCM0156020, for how to do this use TCM1000001 
  • take no further action.

If the appeal is not against a Compliance decision, go to .

Step 12

Check why the customer is appealing, by reading the information in the letter or the WTC/AP.

If the customer is appealing only because their claim has been terminated due to them not returning their Annual Declaration (known as ‘soft termination’), that does not have appeal rights

  • send the soft termination acknowledgement letter TC635 to the customer or authorised representative
  • complete a form MS164
  • send the case papers to the Restores Team, following local procedures
  • update Household Notes with the message AC05 from TCM0156020, for how to do this use TCM1000001 
  • take no further action.

If the customer is appealing against a soft termination and other points that do have a right of appeal 

  • send photocopies of the case papers to the Restores Team, following local procedures
  • go to .

If the customer has grounds for appeal and is appealing against a decision that has appeal rights, go to  

If the customer has no grounds for appeal, go to .

Step 13

Contact the customer or authorised representative by phone to explain that the decision does not carry appeal rights, for how to do this use TCM0094080.

Note: Make three attempts to call the customer at various times during the day to maximise the opportunity to contact the customer. Ensure that your last attempt is made before the final post collection of the day to enable you to write to the customer if the call is unsuccessful. If you started to work the case after lunch, make your third attempt on the following day but before the last post collection.

If you are able to contact the customer or authorised representative by phone

  • explain that the decision does not carry appeal rights
  • tell the customer that we will send their documents to the relevant team to action if appropriate
  • record details of the call on a TC648
  • update Household Notes with the message AC32 from TCM0156020, for how to do this use TCM1000001 
  • send documents to the relevant team to action, following local procedures
  • take no further action.

If you are unable to contact the customer or authorised representative by phone 

  • issue a TC822 to the customer or authorised representative with the reasons why they cannot appeal against the decision
  • retain a copy of the TC822 with the case papers
  • update Household Notes with the message AC32 from TCM0156020, for how to do this use TCM1000001 
  • send documents to the relevant team to action, following local procedures
  • take no further action.

Step 14

Check the appeal form WTC/AP or the customer’s letter to identify the decision under appeal and make a note of the date of the award notice decision, for how to do this use TCM1000119.

If the appeal was received more than 1 year and 30 days after the date of the award notice decision, go to .

If the appeal was received more than 30 days after the date of the award notice decision, go to .

If the appeal was received within 30 days of the date of the award notice decision 

  • register the appeal on NTC, for how to do this use TCM1000444
  • enter the details of the customer or authorised representative who has submitted the appeal on to the Appeals database following local procedures
  • update Household Notes with the message AC01 from TCM0156020, for how to do this use TCM1000001 
  • complete the appropriate coloured coversheet, following local procedures

Note: If the appeal you are dealing with is a complex or European Economic Area (EEA) case, complete a slip and attach it to the Appeal/MR and the Registration team will complete the appropriate coloured coversheet, , for how to identify a complex or EEA case use TCM0284140.

  • go to .

Step 15

Check for any evidence of earlier appeals or earlier customer contact about the same issue, for how to do this use TCM1000067.

Note: You do not need to consider whether the customer has reasons for the appeal being late as the appeal is outside the absolute time limit.

Note: If necessary recall the case papers from storage to check if there is any evidence of the customer or authorised representative having sent in any earlier appeals, or evidence of the customer having contacted us to resolve the same issue. This may include correspondence from the customer or authorised representative such as disputed overpayments or complaints, where the customer or authorised representative has implied that they wanted to appeal without there being an obvious appeal request. Follow the guidance in TCM0074060.

If there is evidence of an earlier appeal, go to .

If there is no evidence of an earlier appeal

  • register the appeal on the Appeals database, following local procedures
  • complete a yellow coversheet and clearly mark it ‘13+’
  • pass the case papers to the Response Writer, following local procedures
  • take no further action.

Step 16

Check if the current appeal has been duly made.

Note: To be duly made an appeal must

  • be made against a notice of decision that carries appeal rights
  • be signed by the customer, their partner or a representative
  • contain sufficient information to identify the notice of decision under appeal
  • be made in time
  • give reasons why the customer does not agree with the notice.

If the appeal is duly made 

  • register the appeal on NTC, for how to do this use TCM1000444
  • enter the details of the customer or authorised representative who has submitted the appeal on to the Appeals database, following local procedures
  • update Household Notes with the message AC01 from TCM0156020, for how to do this use TCM1000001 
  • complete the appropriate coloured coversheet, following local procedures

Note: If the appeal you are dealing with is a complex or European Economic Area (EEA) case, complete a slip and attach it to the Appeal/MR and the Registration team will complete the appropriate coloured coversheet, for how to identify a complex or EEA case use TCM0284140.

  • go to .

If the appeal is not duly made 

  • register the appeal on the Appeals database as ‘Not Duly Made’, following local procedures
  • complete the appropriate coloured coversheet, following local procedures
  • update Household Notes with the message AC31 from TCM0156020, for how to do this use TCM1000001 
  • send case papers to the Response Team, following local procedures
  • take no further action.

Step 17

Check if the customer or authorised representative have provided a reason for the appeal being received late.

If the customer has given a reason for the late appeal, go to .

If the customer has not given a reason for the late appeal, go to .

Step 18

Consider the reason(s) for the late appeal.

Note: You must consider the reasons before you carry out any settlement action because once you have taken settlement action you cannot reject the appeal because it is late.

Note: The law is quite specific on why we might accept a late appeal. These are:

  • the appellant or their partner or a dependant of the appellant has died or suffered a serious illness
  • the appellant is not resident in the United Kingdom
  • normal postal services were disrupted

Note: take into account any earlier contact prior to the appeal being made for example, has the customer been phoning regularly, has the claim gone through the backdating process, has there been a postal dispute.

Note: In the interests of justice, a late request for an appeal can be treated as made in time if some other special circumstances exist that are wholly exceptional and relevant.

Note: If you are unable to decide if the reason for lateness can be accepted, pass the case papers to your line manger to make the decision.

If the reason(s) for the late appeal have been accepted 

  • register the appeal on the Appeals database, following local procedures
  • enter the details of the customer or authorised representative who has submitted the appeal on the Appeals database, following local procedures
  • complete the appropriate coloured coversheet, following local procedures
  • register the appeal on NTC, for how to do this use TCM1000444 
  • update Household Notes with the appropriate message AC05, AC08, AC06, AC11, AC12 or AC13 from TCM0156020, for how to do this use TCM1000001
  • send the case papers to the Settlement Officer, following local procedures
  • take no further action.

If the reason(s) for the late appeal have not been accepted 

  • register the appeal on the Appeals database, following local procedures
  • enter the details of the customer or authorised representative who has submitted the appeal on the Appeals database, following local procedures
  • complete the appropriate coloured coversheet, following local procedures
  • go to .

Step 19

Contact the customer or authorised representative by phone to obtain the reason(s) for late appeal, for how to do this use TCM0094080.

If you are able to contact the customer or authorised representative and have obtained the reason(s) for the late appeal, go to .

If you are unable to contact the customer or authorised representative by phone, go to .

Step 20

Check if there has been an official error which led to an incorrect decision.

Note: Official error is where

  • an officer has made an error which resulted in an incorrect decision; and
  • the customer did not materially contribute to the error.

Note: Under these circumstances the incorrect decision may be revised provided that:

* no more than five years has passed since the incorrect decision was given; and
* the new decision will be in favour of the customer

Note: Where it is accepted that a decision is incorrect through official error, that error does not cease to be an official error where the customer failed to identify the error on an award notice and so failed to inform HMRC of the mistake within 30 days.

Note: Further information on official error and decision making can be found in the Tax credit Technical Manual, TCTM09430 and TCTM09460.

If there has been official error

  • correct the decision on NTC system
  • send the customer or authorised representative TC622 with the relevant official error option
  • update Household Notes with the message AC36 from TCM0156020, for how to do this use TCM1000001 
  • take no further action.

If there has not been official error

  • register the appeal on NTC system, for how to do this use TCM1000444
  • update Household Notes with the message AC36 from TCM0156020,for how to do this use TCM1000001 
  • prepare case papers for submission to the Response Writer
  • pass case papers to the Response Writer, following local procedures
  • take no further action.