Following on from last week’s blog about how contractors and small to medium-sized (SME) business owners can appeal HMRC’s tax decisions against them, this blog aims to outline how to appeal to the tax tribunal if you disagree with HMRC’s response to your appeal review.
The tax tribunal is an independent body to HMRC, and you may appeal against decisions regarding direct and indirect tax. Direct tax issues include income, corporation, and PAYE tax, and indirect tax issues include excise duty and VAT surcharge.
Direct tax issues must be reviewed first by HMRC before you may appeal to the tax tribunal. All appeals can be dealt with by your accountant, though you will have to be present at your hearing, with your accountant in attendance as your representative.
You may also appeal to the tax tribunal if your goods are seized by the UK Border Agency or HMRC (applicable to SME business owners), as you may be liable to penalties.
Similar to direct tax issues, you must ask for a review of their decision to seize your goods before you may appeal the decision to the tax tribunal.
If your appeal leads to a hearing you will receive fourteen days notice of the date of your hearing, the location of which will be decided by how easy it is to get to from your home or place of work.
Who Will Attend
You may bring a representative (usually your accountant) to your hearing, along with an extra individual, such as a family member or colleague. The hearing will bring into attendance the tribunal panel, a tribunal clerk, a representative from the department or agency you’re disputing the decision of (eg. HMRC or the UK Border Agency), as well as any witnesses to the case.
What Should You Take
As you’d expect, you should take as much paperwork to your hearing as possible, as your best chance of winning your tribunal, and potentially reversing the tax decision against you, lies in your ability to state your case.
In particular, you must ensure you take:
- The ‘statement of case’ document delivered to you by HMRC, assuming you received one.
- All documents and paperwork you require to back up your case. Your accountant will tell you what you need to bring; always err on the side of too much rather than too little.
- Your response to the statement of case (written down), including a list of the documents and paperwork you will be bringing to back up your case.
In most hearings it’ll be you, the business owner, submitting your case to the tribunal panel first. Once the representative from the department or agency you’re disputing the decision of puts forward their side, the tribunal will reach a decision.
Losing Your Appeal
Whether you receive your decision on the day of your hearing or later on, you’ll always receive an official letter from the tax tribunal with your decision in writing.
If you lose your appeal you may either ask the tribunal to overlook the case again if you believe there was an issue in the way the hearing was handled (such as you not receiving important paperwork about the case), or you may ask for permission to appeal the decision if you believe a legal mistake was made during the tribunal, such as the law being applied incorrectly.
Do You Need Help with how to Appeal to the Tax Tribunal?
If you’re a contractor or SME business owner looking to discuss appealing tax decisions to the tax tribunal, contact us today on 020 8780 2349 or get in touch with us via our contact page to speak with a professional and arrange a complimentary, no obligation meeting.
This blog is a general summary. It should not replace professional advice tailored to your specific circumstance.