Tax Tribunal Representation

If you need HMRC Tax Disputes advice, we are available to aid you at every stage of the HMRC appeals process. Members of our legal team have first-hand experience and working knowledge of the internal workings of HMRC.

We can provide you with the very best representation in negotiations, throughout the HMRC internal review process and in front of the Tax Tribunal. Our team specialises in successfully challenging HMRC decisions and will assist you in every aspect including developing a strategy.

First Tier Tax Tribunal

The Tax Tribunals can be used by a taxpayer when appealing a HMRC decision. If the appeal to HMRC after the penalty notice is issued is unsuccessful and the HMRC  internal review procedure has not yielded a satisfactory conclusions then recourse is available by appealing to the First Tier Tax Tribunal (section 49D, TMA 1970).

What is the First Tier Tax Tribunal?

A taxpayer can appeal immediately to the First Tier Tax Tribunal on HMRC decisions regarding indirect taxes such as VAT, excise duty or customs duty. However, for decisions about direct taxes (such as Income Tax, PAYE, Corporation Tax, Capital Gains Tax, Statutory Sick or Maternity Pay and Inheritance Tax), a taxpayer must appeal to HMRC first.

For both direct and indirect taxes, there may have been an internal review. It is not permissible to appeal to the Tax Tribunal during the course of the internal review.

The Tax Tribunal is completely independent of HMRC and is governed by an overriding objective to deal with cases fairly and justly (rule 2, First Tier Tribunal Rules (FTR 2009)). The Tribunal will consider the evidence of both parties, equally whilst the judge heavily relies on previous case law.

How do I Commence Proceedings at the First Tier Tax Tribunal?

To commence proceedings, the Appellant must notify the appeal to the Tax Tribunal. An appellant or their legal representative can appeal to the Tax Tribunal online or fill in a T240 notice of appeal form. Proceedings will commence once the Appellant has sent a notice of appeal to the tribunal within the specific time limits as set out by the particular Act.

The First Tier Tribunal Rules 2009 sets out that the notice of appeal must include:

“(a) the name and address of the appellant;
(b) the name and address of the appellant’s representative (if any);
(c) an address where documents for the appellant may be sent or delivered;
(d) details of the decision appealed against;
(e) the result the appellant is seeking; and
(f) the grounds for making the appeal.”

[Rule 20(2), FTR 2009]


“The appellant must provide with the notice of appeal a copy of any written record of any decision appealed against, and any statement of reasons for that decision, that the appellant has or can reasonably obtain.”

[Rule 20(3), FTR 2009]

Late Appeals to the Tax Tribunal

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) have actively sought to clamp down on tax evasion or avoidance and increasingly more individuals and businesses are subject to HMRC tax penalties. It is vital that any taxpayer (individuals and businesses) deal with tax issues as soon as they occur to prevent their appeal from being time-barred and to minimise the accrual of penalty fees. 

How do I apply for Permission to Appeal out of time?

The First Tier Tribunal have the judicial discretion to permit tax appeals made out of time to proceed. The time limit to bring a VAT appeal to the FTT in 30 days and a late appeal will only be permitted in exceptional circumstances.

The time limit for bringing a VAT appeal to the FTT commences from the date of the document notifying the appellant of the decision, or where someone else is the appellant, the date on which that person becomes aware of the tax decision (VATA 1994, s. 83G(1)(a)).  

In what circumstances will the First-tier Tax Tribunal (FTT) allow a late appeal?

Factors the FTT will take into account in deciding to allowing a late appeal:

  1. The length of the delay in making an appeal
  2. What was the reason for the delay?
  3. Was the delay caused by the actions of HMRC?
  4. Once the taxpayer is aware of an appeal, did the appeal progress expeditiously?
  5. Will there be prejudice to the taxpayer or to HMRC is allowed or refused?
  6. Are there public interests considerations if an out of time appeal is allowed or refused?

Drafting Witness Statements:

Witness statements are a crucial piece of evidence when presenting your case in dispute with HMRC. Skill and effort are required in drafting such statements, and the Court or Tax Tribunal will often criticise poorly drafted statements without statements of truth for example. A good CPR compliant witness statement is an important part of advocacy.

What is a witness statement?

witness statement is a formal document that contains a witness’s account of the facts relating to a particular dispute. The purpose of a witness statement is to provide written evidence to support a particular party’s case. A witness statement can either be in support of your case or your opponent’s case.

A witness statement is a crucial piece of evidence that will be referred to and relied upon at trial or at the First Tier Tax Tribunal. Therefore, it is important to ensure that your witness statement is both accurate and comprehensive.

What should a witness statement contain?

When doing a witness statement you should only disclose relevant information to the case and usually the person requesting the witness statement will set out what to cover in the witness statement.

We suggest you seek legal advice if you are having difficulty in complying with what your witness statement should include.

Who provides witness statements on behalf of HMRC?

  • Tax Credit Office
  • Centre for Exchange of Intelligence (CEI)
  • Child Benefit Office
  • Law Enforcement Operations

Any member of HMRC staff can provide and sign a witness statement providing that they have permission to disclose the information. When a witness statement is prepared, the person who produced the witness statement may be called to Court to make a statement of oath.

Not based in London? We provide nationwide representation

That does not matter, we will represent you no matter where you are based in England or Wales.

If you contact us through our contact form, by email or by phone, one of our tax team members will contact you by phone to discuss your matter and assess whether we can help you.

If we can, we will arrange a conference with a senior member(s) of our tax team. This meeting will take place either in person or using our telephone conference facilities or via Skype if you prefer. Therefore, no matter where you are based in England or Wales we can represent you.