DPP Business Tax

Appeals To Tax Tribunal

HMRC can only make decisions regarding your tax based on the information they have received, and how they have interpreted it. This means that there is room for error – and, if you feel you have fallen foul of a mistake on their part, you will have the opportunity to appeal to the tax tribunal.

How Can DBT & Partners Help?

If you feel that you have been unfairly fined – or that an HMRC investigation has drawn the wrong conclusion – and you’re thinking about launching a tax penalty appeal, contact the tax services team at DBT & Partners before you take the first step. Our experts understand the tax tribunal appeal process and can help you to make the right decision.

It may be that you can negotiate with HMRC following receipt of a Decision Notice, or use Alternative Dispute Resolution, and it’s best to try these options before appealing. However, if the outcome of any review remains the same, we can guide you through all the steps involved – representing you at hearings, providing advice and looking through all evidence – and, with our thorough knowledge of tax appeal tribunal rules, we can help you achieve the right result.

Matters Related to the Tax Appeal Tribunal

Why Might I Engage with the Tax Appeal Tribunal?

You have the right to begin the tax tribunal appeal process if you have reason to believe that HMRC has made the wrong decision and penalised you regarding your:

  • Income tax
  • PAYE tax
  • Corporation tax
  • Capital gains tax
  • National insurance contributions
  • Statutory sick pay
  • Statutory maternity pay or inheritance tax


Remember, for the final three, you may be able to start an appeal straight away. Otherwise, you’ll likely need to appeal to HMRC first.

How Do I Appeal to the First Tier Tax Tribunal?

When initial negotiations have failed, you should turn to the tax appeal tribunal. To do this, you must appeal to the First Tier tax tribunal – a body that is independent of the government and therefore impartial. The simplest way to do this is by visiting the relevant page on HMRC’s website and filling in the required form. Remember, it’s best to seek legal advice before following this route.

What is the Tax Tribunal Appeal Process?

The first step of a tax penalty appeal is to make contact with legal experts who will assist you throughout the process. After this, you should work with them to collate your reasons for appeal and fill in the appeal form.

You may not be invited to a hearing – if this is the case, you’ll receive a decision in writing.

If you are granted a hearing, your lawyer or solicitor should attend with you to offer advice and to present your case. You can also be accompanied by a witness and any friends, family members or colleagues who may be able to help you.

You must bring all paperwork related to the case, including your accounts, your notice of appeal, the original decision letter you have chosen to appeal, and any further correspondence you had with HMRC regarding this decision.

You will be told if your case is considered “basic”, “standard” or “complex”. If it falls under either of the latter two categories, you will also need to bring with you any documents that the tribunal has sent to you in advance of your hearing.

At the tribunal, the panel – headed by a judge – will listen to your arguments, and the case against you will also be presented. You should be prepared to answer any questions.

A decision will then be made regarding your appeal. If your case was a “basic” one, this will arrive with you within a month – and sometimes even the same day. If it was “standard” or “complex”, this may take up to two months.

If you lose your case, you can either ask for any decision made to be “set aside” – though this approach will usually only be successful if there’s been a mistake during the process – or you may be able to appeal further, either via the Upper Tribunal or any other method described in your decision letter.

Tax Tribunal Appeals: Frequently Asked Questions

What is the first-tier tribunal?

This refers to the judiciary process to which you may appeal if you feel that HMRC or another official body such as the Border Force, the National Crime Agency or the Welsh Revenue Authority have made an incorrect decision relating to a tax penalty or other issue.

How do I appeal to the first-tier tax tribunal?

If you’re wondering how to appeal to a first-tier tax tribunal for a decision made by HMRC, the best route to take is actually via the body’s website itself. You can find the appeal form right here, though it’s best to seek legal advice first.

How long does a tribunal appeal take?

After you have launched an appeal, HMRC has 45 days to review the decision that was originally made, though they may require an extension of up to another 45 days. Within this time, you’ll be informed of whether or not you will need to attend a hearing. If you are, you will find out the result of your appeal within two months of the date of your hearing.

Tax Fraud and Investigation Solicitors in London

Contact DBT & Partners if you are considering appealing to the First Tier Tribunal. We’ll assist you in your decision and the steps that follow, right through to the case’s conclusion.

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