HMRC update appeal guidance – inheritance, capital gains and income tax to be affected

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HMRC can have some of its decisions appealed to the First-tier and upper Tribunals if consumers or customers are unhappy with the conclusions the Government has come to. While many Government agencies can be appealed, HMRC has it’s appeals split into two categories: direct and indirect tax.

Direct tax concerns elements such as income, capital gains or inheritance tax.

Indirect tax decisions such as VAT, excise duty and customs duty can also be appealed.

However, it should be noted that tribunals have the option to strike out an appeal and in recent years, the DWP issued guidance which urged decision makers to ask tribunals to strike out appeals where, in the view of the decision maker(s), there are no reasonable prospects of success.

In short, a decision to strike out an appeal will have the effect that it brings the proceedings to a firm end, leaving the original decision maker’s decision in force.

Today, HMRC updated its guidance on what happens if a case is struck out. It detailed:

  • If a case is struck out, then the appeal proceedings are brought to an end;
  • If there was a statutory review of our decision, then the review conclusion stands;
  • If the taxpayer did not request or accept our offer of a review, then our original decision stands;
  • The case papers should be returned to the decision maker to give effect to the decision or review conclusion;
  • However, the customer may still apply to the tribunal within 28 days of the strike out for the proceedings to be reinstated.

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HMRC customers must usually appeal a decision within a designated time limit, which is detailed in the decision letter.

Appeals to tax tribunals can be made online.

When appealing, customers will need the following ready:

  • A scan or photo of their original notice or review conclusion letter
  • The reasons for their appeal, so the judge can understand their side of the argument

It is also possible to have a professional represent the appealer and to do this, they’ll need to download and fill in an authorisation form which can be found on the Government’s website.

Appeals can also be processed by post if claimants download and fill in a notice of appeal form (T240).

These forms will need to be sent to the tribunal and the address will be detailed on the forms.

A tax tribunal helpline can also be contacted if the person involved has any questions on the appeal but the helpline cannot provide legal advice.

Once an appeal is launched, the person involved will get a letter from the tribunal explaining what happens next.

They may be asked to provide more documents to support their case.

The Government notes not all cases will have a hearing but appealers can ask for one.

They’ll then usually get at least 14 days’ notice of the date of the hearing and the tribunal will write to them with the details of what they’ll need.

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