Appealing an HMRC decision ― outline

By Tolley and written by Anne Redston

The following Personal 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 ― direct taxes
  • The next step ― VAT
  • HMRC review
  • Appealing to the Tribunal


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

This note and the further 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. If you want to close an enquiry, but have not received a closure notice, see the Requesting closure of a compliance check guidance note. The Tribunal form and related guidance can be found on the GOV.UK 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 at Tolley’s Value Added Tax 2018/19 Chapter 5.3; for direct taxes, see Tolley’s Income Tax 2018/19 Chapter 5.3, Tolley’s Corporation Tax 2018/19 Chapter 5.3, 5.8 and Tolley’s Capital Gains Tax 2018/19 Chapter 5.2. All annuals references are

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