What is a tax tribunal?
If a taxpayer disagrees with a decision regarding tax made by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), then they can usually appeal.
The appeal will differ whether it is based on a decision made on direct taxes (like income tax, corporation tax, capital gains tax, national insurance contributions, statutory sick pay, statutory maternity pay, inheritance tax and/or PAYE) or indirect (namely, VAT, excise duty and/or customs duty)
If the appeal concerns direct taxes, the taxpayer must fill out a notice of appeal to HMRC within 30 days of their decision.
If it is relating to indirect taxes, the appeal is issued directly to the Tribunal.
Asking for internal review
If the taxpayer is querying the direct taxes decision, they can ask for an internal review from an HMRC officer who has not been involved with the earlier decision.
This process can take up to 45 days and the appeal cannot take place until the review is completed.
Once the review is complete, and if the taxpayer still does not agree with the decision from the HMRC, the taxpayer must send a notice of appeal to the Tribunal – this can be done in addition to the notice of appeal to the HMRC in direct tax cases.
However, with VAT, there is no need for any direct correspondence with the HMRC – all appeal administration is done with the Tribunal.
The Tribunal is independent of government and will listen to both parties without prejudice before making a decision.
The Tribunal will be made up of the tribunal panel, including a judge, and sometimes, a tax expert. A tribunal clerk will also be present.
You are invited to bring a representative, such as a lawyer, accountant or tax adviser. You are also free to bring along a friend, colleague or family member as well as a witness.
You will then be invited to present your case to the Tribunal. The other party will present the case against you.
You will get the Tribunal’s decision within two months of the hearing, depending on the complexities of the case.
How DBT & Partners can help
Running a business can be complicated – and tax and accountancy can be a minefield. If you feel you have been unfairly treated by the HMRC and would like to go ahead with an appeal to a tax tribunal, our team of expert tax solicitors can help you formulate your case, and be present at the tribunal to present the best possible defence.
To get started with expert legal help and support, contact us and we’ll be in touch as soon as possible.
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