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 (CGT)
  • Class 4 National Insurance contributions


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

HMRC won’t take action to collect arrears until the claim is resolved.

If you disagree with HMRC’s decision

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