5. If HMRC don't act on information

You can ask HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) to cancel your tax arrears if you think they’ve made a mistake because they failed to act on information they had.

You can do this by asking for an ‘extra-statutory concession’ (‘ESC A19’) if you owe:

  • Income Tax, eg because you were on the wrong tax code
  • Capital Gains Tax
  • Class 4 National Insurance contributions

Eligibility

You can make a request if all of the following apply:

  • HMRC haven’t used tax information provided to them, eg about a change of income or job
  • HMRC told you about the arrears more than 12 months after the end of the tax year in which they received your information
  • you have a reasonable belief that your tax affairs are up to date

Tax information could come from:

  • you
  • your employer
  • the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP)

Self Assessment

You can’t normally cancel tax owed via Self Assessment, unless there are exceptional circumstances, eg where HMRC:

  • told you about 2 or more years of PAYE tax owed
  • failed to act on information you’ve given them more than once

How to make a claim

You should call HMRC before you pay any of the tax arrears.

If you make a payment before making a request under ESC A19, HMRC may still refund the tax.

Call or write to HMRC to make a claim under ESC A19.

You must tell HMRC:

  • the tax year and underpayment in dispute
  • what information was provided and when
  • why you thought your tax was up to date

You may be able to delay paying a penalty until your appeal has been settled.

If you disagree with HMRC’s decision

You can ask for the decision to be reviewed if you don’t agree with the outcome.