The Government is consulting on a proposed introduction of fees in the tax chamber of the Tribunal Service, as part of a general fee reform of Courts and Tribunals fees.

The new fees would apply to both issuing proceedings, and hearings. The amount payable would depend on the complexity as assigned by the Tribunal itself, i.e. paper, basic, standard or complex.

A summary of the proposed fees is below:


Issuing proceedings


First Tier



















Upper Tier


Permission to appeal









Rationale for reform

  • The operation of the Tax Chamber (First & Upper Tier) currently costs HMCTS an estimated £8.7m per annum none of which is currently recovered.
  • The General Regulatory Chamber costs an estimated £1.6m per year to operate again, none of this is currently recovered.

The Government believes that is not fair to expect these costs to be borne entirely by the taxpayer and that it is reasonable that those who use the service and can afford to make a contribution to the cost of the service should do so. Its intention is to seek to recover around 25% of the cost across these three jurisdictions.

Another key aim of these proposals is to ensure that fees are not a barrier to justice.

  • The government is also therefore proposing that the standard HMCTS fee remission scheme should apply in these jurisdictions. This will help to ensure that we protect access to the Tribunals for those who are unable to afford to pay.
  • It is also the intention that the Tribunal should have the power to order that fees should be reimbursed, consistent with the approach in those Chambers where fees are currently charged.
  • An additional aim of the Government in introducing and revising fee structures in these tribunals is to keep the fee charging structures as simple as possible to assist both tribunal users and HMCTS staff in understanding the new fees.


Consultation questions in respect of the proposed tax tribunal fees are:

Question 16: Do you agree with the proposed fee structures that we are proposing in the First-tier Tribunal (Tax Chamber) and the Upper Tribunal (Tax and Chancery)?

Question 17: Are there any types of applications or cases which you feel should be exempt from the fees?

The consultation: Consultation on further fees proposals closes on 15 September 2015.


Bearing in mind that most appealable tax penalties start at £100, adding a cost of £250 to a basic hearing before the FTT looks as if it will deter many people from making an appeal. We assume that HMRC will also have to bear the same costs, although this is unclear from the condoc.

It is notable from a review of FTT decisions that the number of cases being heard since the introduction of the new penalty regimes from 2007 onward is rising. Accountants Deloitte, estimate that there are currently 30,000 outstanding cases, with 300 listed for hearing by the Upper Tribunal.

The condoc notes that since the introduction of fees in Employment Tribunals in 2013 there has been a sudden drop in the number of cases being issued. The government is currently reviewing the introduction of fees in the Employment Tribunals, in order to determine why that is (presumably it thinks that there is more to it that costs grounds alone) that review will end in October 2015. Its outcome should make interesting reading, noting that in the case of employment appeals, ACAS provides employers and employees with an advisory, consiliation and arbitration service and this often allows parties to resolve their differences outside of the tribunal. 

The Unison union has recently lost an appeal to the court of appeal with regards to the introduction of Employment appeal fees. It is expected to appeal its case to the Supreme Court.