Press Room

26 Feb 2024

Andrew Parkes comments on the HMRC appeals process

National Technical Director, Andrew Parkes, comments on the HMRC appeals process, and how best to navigate it, in The Telegraph.

Andrew’s comments were published in The Telegraph, and syndicated in Yahoo! News and Yahoo Finance, 25 February 2024.

Andrew detailed the types of decisions one can appeal, and those that are most frequent, commenting: “Most formal decisions made by HMRC can be appealed. Generally they only get to act as judge, jury and executioner when you have been involved in tax avoidance. The most common appeals are against penalties, especially for filing your tax return late.”

He went on to explain the steps involved in the process, saying: “You write to HMRC explaining what you want to appeal against and why. If there is tax being charged you can ask for that to be postponed until the appeal is settled. HMRC consider your appeal, and if they agree with it, remove the penalty/amend the figures to what you have suggested. If they disagree then you have three choices, accept HMRC’s position and withdraw your appeal, ask for a review or notify the Tax Tribunal. If you do none of these things, HMRC can force your hand by offering a review. If you do not then either accept the review or notify your appeal to the tribunal within 30 days, your appeal is considered to be settled along HMRC’s lines, i.e. you lose by default.”

He further noted the time the process typically takes, stating: “For very simple appeals against a late filing penalty, it can be done over the phone, there and then. If you are into very complex tax avoidance then it can take 10 to 15 years. Most administrative appeals should be dealt with within a month.”

Providing his advice for those seeking to appeal, he said: “Make sure you meet the deadlines for making appeals. If you are late, HMRC does not have to accept an appeal and you then have to ask the Tribunal to accept your late appeal, before they go on to consider if your appeal has merit. This can all be avoided by appealing on time – although you are on the back foot as the deadline is generally 30 days from when HMRC makes their decision and not when you receive the letter, which can be 14 days later in busy periods. Also, if you are appealing against a penalty for filing late, it doesn’t look good if your appeal is then late! If there is a good reason why you didn’t do something in time, make sure you spell out what this was and why the delay was out of your control.”

Andrew Parkes

Andrew is a highly experienced international tax specialist who worked at a senior level in HMRC’s international teams for over 10 years. He has a wealth of experience and technical knowledge.

Email: Andrew Parkes