Appeal against a penalty
You can appeal to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) against a penalty, for example for:
- an inaccurate return
- sending in your tax return late
- paying tax late
- failing to keep adequate records
A HMRC officer who wasn’t previously involved with your penalty decision will carry out a review if you appeal.
If you want to appeal a penalty about ‘indirect tax’ (for example VAT, excise duty, customs duty) you can either:
- request a review from HMRC
- appeal straight to the tax tribunal
Your penalty may be cancelled or amended if you have a reasonable excuse.
How to appeal
If HMRC sends you a penalty letter by post, use the appeal form that comes with it or follow the instructions on the letter.
For Self Assessment, PAYE, VAT and Corporation Tax, there are extra documents you can use or alternative ways to appeal.
If you’re appealing a Self Assessment penalty
You can appeal a £100 penalty for filing a tax return late.
To appeal, you’ll need:
- the date the penalty was issued
- the date you filed your Self Assessment tax return
- details of your reasonable excuse for late filing
If your penalty is for filing a 2016 to 2017 tax return late, you can appeal online. You’ll need to set up a Government Gateway account if you don’t have one.
If you’re an employer appealing a PAYE penalty
You can appeal online using HMRC’s PAYE for employers service. Once you’ve logged in, select ‘Appeal a penalty’. You’ll get an immediate acknowledgment when you submit your appeal.
If you filed a late VAT or Corporation Tax return
You can also use these specific forms for:
- VAT if you had a reasonable excuse for filing late
- Corporation Tax if you filed late because of computer problems
If you don’t have an appeal form
You can send a signed letter to HMRC instead. Your letter must include:
- your name
- your reference number, for example your Self Assessment Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR) or VAT registration number
- a full explanation of why your return or payment was late, including dates
If you couldn’t file or pay because of computer problems, you should include the date you tried to file or pay online with details of any system error message.
Send your claim to the HMRC office related to your return.
You must appeal within 30 days of the date of the penalty notice.
If you miss this deadline you must explain the reason for the delay so that HMRC can decide if they’ll consider your appeal.
If you disagree with HMRC’s review