Appealing an HMRC decision - outline

By Tolley and written by Anne Redston

The following Value Added Tax guidance note by Tolley and written by Anne Redston provides comprehensive and up to date tax information covering:

  • Appealing an HMRC decision - outline
  • Introduction
  • The starting point
  • The next step - indirect taxes
  • HMRC review
  • Appealing to the tribunal


This guidance note outlines the procedure for appealing against a decision made by HMRC. It links to further guidance notes which explain each stage of the procedure.

This guidance note and the further guidance notes on appealing to the Tribunal are only a summary; they do not cover all situations. You may need to take further advice in relation to your client’s appeal position. If your client’s appeal is against a decision by Revenue Scotland, the procedure may not be the same as that set out here. You are advised to take specialist advice.

Be aware that there are time limits at all stages of the appeal process, and failing to adhere to the time limit may mean that the right to appeal is lost.

The starting point

Before you can appeal, HMRC must have made a decision. This may seem obvious, but it is an essential point. You cannot appeal during an enquiry process. You have to wait until after HMRC has issued the decision.

This may be (for example) a closure notice, a penalty, or a refusal to register a person for VAT. The Tribunal form and related guidance can be found on the GOV.UK - Appeal to the tax tribunal  website.

Most decisions are appealable, but there are a few decisions against which no appeal is possible. The decision notice should set out your client’s rights of appeal. If there is any doubt you should confirm that the decision is appealable.

A list of appealable VAT decisions is in the Appeals - list of appealable VAT decisions guidance note.

More on Appeals: