HMRC review of a decision

By Tolley and written by Anne Redston

The following Owner-Managed Businesses guidance note by Tolley and written by Anne Redston provides comprehensive and up to date tax information covering:

  • HMRC review of a decision
  • Introduction
  • The purpose of a review
  • Accepting the offer
  • Refusing the offer
  • Ignoring the offer
  • No offer and no request
  • The review process
  • Appealing to the Tribunal during the review process
  • Appeal to the Tribunal

This guidance note is only a summary and does 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.


Before you read this note you should read the Appealing an HMRC decision: outline guidance note. That note explains that the approach you have to take is slightly different for direct taxes and VAT.

In either case, once HMRC has made an appealable decision, the taxpayer normally has 30 days during which it can accept an offer from HMRC to review a decision, or alternatively, request that HMRC reviews the decision.

TMA 1970, ss 49B–49C; VATA 1994, ss 83A–83C
The purpose of a review

HMRC says that in carrying out a review it has two main aims:

  • to help to resolve the dispute, by considering whether there is scope for negotiations and compromise
  • to take a fresh look at the decision in an ‘objective and balanced way’. The review should identify decisions that are wrong or unsound, and decisions that it would not want to take before a Tribunal.


In considering whether or not HMRC would want to take the case to the Tribunal, the review officer should ‘only pursue sensible cases with good prospects of success’. In particular, he should have regard to the litigation and settlement strategy (LSS), and specifically:

  • the technical an

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