Appeal to the tax tribunal
You can appeal to the First-tier Tribunal (Tax) if you want to challenge some decisions by:
- HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC)
- Border Force
- the National Crime Agency (NCA)
- the Welsh Revenue Authority (WRA)
The tribunal is independent of the government, HMRC, Border Force, NCA and WRA, and it will listen to both sides of the argument before making a decision.
This guide is also available in Welsh (Cymraeg).
Appeal an HMRC decision
You can appeal against most decisions about ‘direct tax’ and ‘indirect tax’.
Direct tax includes:
- Income Tax
- PAYE Tax
- Corporation Tax
- Capital Gains Tax
- National Insurance contributions
- Inheritance Tax
Indirect tax includes:
- Excise Duty
- Customs Duty
How you appeal against a decision depends on if it’s direct or indirect tax.
You must appeal direct tax decisions to HMRC before you can appeal to the tribunal.
You can usually appeal indirect tax decisions straight to the tribunal. Before appealing to the tribunal, you can apply for a statutory review. This can be quicker and cheaper than going to the tribunal. You can still appeal to the tribunal if you do not agree with the outcome.
You must appeal within the time limit - it’ll usually be on any decision letter you get.
If you’ve appealed to the tribunal and your appeal has been accepted, you can apply to HMRC for alternative dispute resolution (ADR).
There’s a different way to appeal decisions about tax credits and Council Tax.
If you cannot pay
You must usually pay upfront any indirect tax that HMRC says you owe - make a hardship application if you cannot. Appeal to the tribunal if HMRC will not let you delay payment.
You can usually delay paying any direct tax until after the appeal has been decided. Appeal to the tribunal if HMRC will not let you delay payment.
You do not have to pay upfront if you’re appealing a penalty.
Appeal about seized goods
You must ask Border Force or HMRC to take your case to the magistrates’ court (this is known as starting ‘condemnation proceedings’) if you think they should not have taken (or ‘seized’) your goods.
You may be able to appeal to the tribunal if Border Force or HMRC:
- refuses to return your seized goods
- says you need to pay to get your seized goods back
Before you can appeal against a refusal to return your seized goods, you must ask either Border Force or HMRC to review their decision. If you’ve missed the deadline for a review, you can apply to the tribunal to be allowed to request a late review.
If you’ve been asked to pay duty or a penalty
You may be able to appeal if HMRC:
- sends you an assessment for duty
- charges you a penalty
Before you appeal, you will usually have to pay an assessment for duty. If you cannot, you can apply to HMRC to delay paying it until after the appeal is over.
You do not need to pay a penalty before you appeal.
You can apply for a ‘closure notice’ if HMRC opens an enquiry to check your self-assessment tax return for direct tax and you want it to be closed.
The tribunal will decide when HMRC should close the enquiry.
You cannot apply for a closure notice if your tax return is being checked for indirect tax.
Appeal an NCA decision
The National Crime Agency (NCA) may check your tax return instead of HMRC.
You can make an appeal if you do not agree with the decision by writing to the NCA. You must appeal to the NCA before you can appeal to the tribunal.
National Crime Agency
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Appeal a WRA decision
You can appeal some Welsh Revenue Authority (WRA) decisions about Land Transaction Tax and Landfill Disposals Tax.
You can also apply to close an enquiry into your tax return.
You must appeal within the time limit - it’ll usually be on your decision letter.
You must usually pay upfront what WRA says you owe. You can request to delay paying until you get a decision about your appeal. If you delay payment, you may be charged interest on the amount you owe.
Before you appeal, you can ask WRA to change their decision.
Help you can get
You may want to get help and advice before you appeal. An accountant, tax adviser or legal adviser may be able to help you.
You can get free advice from:
- Citizens Advice
- TaxHelp for Older People, if you’re over 60