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Attending a tribunal can be a daunting experience, especially if you have very little knowledge of the appeals process. All appeals to the First-tier Tribunal are categorised as either basic, standard or complex.

Occasionally, the appeal will be categorised as ‘Default paper’, which doesn’t normally require a hearing as the judge will make a decision based on the documentation supplied by the appellant and respondent, which is HMRC.

If you wish to appeal against a decision made by HMRC, you can apply to the tribunal at any time within 30 days of the decision being issued by HMRC. If you have requested an independent review of the decision, you can still apply for an appeal within 30 days of the review outcome being issued.

The process leading up to the hearing

If your case is to be heard at tribunal, you will be given a location and time within 14 days of the hearing, although you will normally be given at least a month’s notice. A case summary will be prepared by HMRC, usually by the officer who issued the original decision. A statement of case will be prepared by a HMRC advocate, within 60 days of receipt of the appeal. If the case is dealing with securities, the statement of case will be prepared within 30 days from the receipt of the appeal. Once the statement of case has been submitted, you will be expected to provide a list of documents that you will be using in court. The respondent, HMRC, will also be expected to provide a list of documents.

Documents you may rely on could include correspondence between HMRC and the appellant, accounts, invoices, contracts or bank statements. If you have witnesses, you must ask them to attend court on the day.

The outcome

Once the case for the appellant and respondents has been heard by the judge, you may be given a decision at the end of the hearing. Although this is likely to be the case for appeals in the basic category, for standard and complex appeals, it is more likely that you will be notified within 60 days of the decision.

What to do if you don’t agree with the decision

If you happen to disagree with the decision made by the First-tier Tribunal, you can apply to the Upper Tribunal, but only if you consider that the decision is wrong in law. To make such an appeal, you have to obtain permission to do so from the First-tier Tribunal.

The process is complex and it’s best to seek professional advice if you are considering appealing a decision.

About The Author

Karl Bilby

We work very closely with our expert accountants to bring you the latest factually correct tax and accounting news. We also enjoy writing about small business news that we hope you find useful!

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