Covid-19: HMRC Extends Deadline to Appeal

Taxpayers who wish to appeal against a tax decision normally have 30 days to do so. This is a strict deadline. Any out of time appeals have to be supported with evidence and there is no guarantee that the tribunal or HMRC would countenance such an extension. However, HMRC has recently issued guidance to taxpayers subject to penalties and assessments that it will grant those impacted by coronavirus (COVID-19) an extra three months to appeal any decision dated February 2020 or later, compared to the ususal 30 days.

It is strongly recommended that legal representation is sought when appealing a tax penalty or assessment with HMRC. Although HMRC has updated the time limits, we recommend that any such appeal happens as soon as possible, and within the 30 day limit if practicable. We have a team of specialist tax solicitors and barristers that are able to successfully negotiate with HMRC on a taxpayer’s behalf. It is essential to seek advice as soon as possible because an appeal must be lodged within 30 days and a late response can be fatal to any appeal.

Who will be able to use the extension? 

The extension will apply to all tax appeals including penalty assessments. Taxpayers who need the extension will have to explain how they have been affected by the pandemic in their appeal. HMRC has requested that those who do so should submit their assessment as they can.

HMRC have already chosen to write to companies involved in enquiries that during the lockdown it will not be requesting any further information or press for responses. 

Other Covid-19 guidance from HMRC

Other guidance updates showed HMRC will now consider coronavirus as a “reasonable excuse” for missing some tax obligations, such as payments or filing dates.

HMRC has also recently suspended enquiries into taxpayers and businesses under investigation as a result of capacity limits in the department.

This is in line with Companies House, which extended filing deadlines by two months automatically due to the impact of Covid-19.

Appeal against a HMRC Tax Penalty or Assessment

If HMRC have assessed you for a tax penalty then an appeal can be lodged against the penalty. There are penalties for late payment of taxlate filing of tax returns and late notification of liability to pay tax.

Appealing penalties for late filing of returns and paperwork or late payment can be applied to any of these types of taxes:

  • Self Assessment Tax Return deadlines and penalties (form SA 370- see below);
  • PAYE/National Insurance payments and deadlines;
  • PAYE late payment penalties (appeal online using HMRC’s PAYE for employers service);
  • Missed VAT deadlines – penalties and surcharges (form WT2 if received a surcharge for submitting online VAT Return late and claim a “reasonable excuse”);
  • Late returns and late return penalties under CIS; and
  • Corporation Tax penalties (form WT1 if there were issues sending a Company Tax Return).

For example, you can appeal a penalty for the late filing of a tax return, where a penalty can be charged even if no tax is owed. Late filing penalties start with a fixed £100 penalty that escalates to fixed daily penalties and/or tax-geared penalties if the failure continues.

Expert London Tax Lawyers

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.

We are experts in adeptly presenting evidence and employing bespoke arguments combining the facts of your case, previous cases and current legislation to ensure your appeal is a successful one. We provide urgent advice and representation to clients from our unique expert team of established tax and duties specialist solicitors and barristers with a proven track record of delivering authoritative results. Just call us on 0207 1830 529, or email [email protected].

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