How do you appeal against a tax penalty? What are your rights of appeal if HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) have assessed you for a tax penalty? 

This is a freeview 'At a glance' guide to how to appeal a tax penalty. 

Do not delay: you must act within the time limits given

  • You have 30 days to lodge an appeal.
  • In the first instance, you appeal directly to HMRC
  • You must check that penality given and notice given is valid
  • You must state your grounds for appeal
  • You must state what you wish to be done: ie. penalty reduced, withdrawn etc
  • You may in certain cases request a review of an HMRC decision
  • Late appeals may be accepted in cases where there is a reasonable excuse for your ongoing delay.

Grounds for appeal

Appeal to a tribunal

If HMRC rejects your appeal you may appeal directly to the tribunal.

You may do this online.

If your appeal is accepted, the judge will issue directions which must be followed, these will include providing details about dates, representation and may require written representations from the parties. They will also include instructions on the bundle, case authorities and evidence.

A decision of the FTT may be appealed in certain circumstances to the Upper Tribunal (UT). A case which features a difficult technical argument may be appealed straight to the UT.

If you would like a second opinion at this stage you need to get one without delay: contact the Virtual Tax Partner support service.

Useful guides on this topic

How to appeal a tax penalty
What are the steps in making an appeal? What should your appeal cover? What does recent case law say on this topic?

Client guide: Reasonable care and tax penalties
What triggers a tax penalty? What standard of care is expected from a taxpayer? What is reasonable care? When is an error careless?

Appeals: grounds for appeal
This section takes you through the different stages of making an appeal and provides template appeal forms, advice on reasonable excuse, how to request a statutory review, making a late appeal, etc.

Assistance in making an appeal?

Contact Virtual Tax Partner support


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