MJB Avanti: Guidance on appealing HMRC decisions
If you disagree with a decision made by HMRC, how do you go about appealing it?
The team at MJB Avanti provide guidance on the steps you can take to appeal a decision you believe to be incorrect. The first thing to note is that you usually have a 30 day deadline to make an appeal against an HMRC decision, so swift action will be required. Due to Coronavirus HMRC will give an extra 3 months to appeal any decision dated February 2020 or later. Appeals should still be submitted as soon as possible, citing Coronavirus as the reason for your delay.
What Can You Appeal?
- your tax bill
- Business and personal taxes can be appealed.
- a claim for tax relief
- a request for information or to check your business records
- a penalty – this could be for late payment / late filing.
What Information Must you Include?
- your name or business name
- your tax reference number (this will be on the decision letter)
- what you disagree with and why
- what you think the correct figures are and how you’ve calculated them
- your signature
Different taxes will require different information to be provided, the above are broad guidelines, for further information on the specifics of appealing PAYE / VAT / Self-Assessment / Corporation Tax please contact the team at MJB Avanti.
MJB Avanti Director, Victoria Sharp adds, “This is one of the reasons we encourage our clients to be proactive in their approach, whether this is by engaging our full bookkeeping services or ensuring that the bookwork is neat when the year end file is handed to us for completion. Having knowledge and control of this area of your business is key, and that’s why using the services of an expert will pay for itself in the long term. Forward planning, tax saving and even annotating business or industry trends in your bookwork are all useful measures to help you deal with HMRC”
You may appeal a penalty issued by HMRC if you have a reasonable excuse for failing to meet your obligations, HMRC advise that reasonable excuses DO NOT include;
- you relied on someone else to send your return and they did not
- As far as HMRC are concerned, the burden remains on you to ensure you meet the statutory deadlines even if engaging an accountant.
- your cheque bounced or payment failed because you did not have enough money
- If you think you may not have the money to pay HMRC, call them to see if you can arrange a payment plan. Early action is key.
- you found the HMRC online system too difficult to use
- Seek advice from the experts, or use HMRC guidelines.
- you did not get a reminder from HMRC
- HMRC are not there to hold your hand through the process. Instead set yourself reminders for filing deadlines and payments. At MJB Avanti, we provide our clients with reminders of upcoming diary dates and payments due.
- you made a mistake on your tax return
- Avoid the mistakes by appointing MJB Avanti as your tax accountant.
On receipt of your appeal, HMRC will review your case using officers who were not involved in the original decision. HMRC usually respond to an appeal within 45 days, if your issue is complex, it can take longer.
If you still do not agree with HMRC’s review, there are further options available which include making an appeal to the tax tribunal or using the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) process. The ADR uses independent HMRC facilitators to help resolve disputes between HMRC and taxpayer. The use of the ADR seeks to find a fair and quick outcome for both parties, helping to reduce costs and avoid a Tribunal case.
Remember that if appealing means your payment will be delayed – these penalties accrue interest every day therefore it is important that when you start the appeal process you confirm the status of payments due and that HMRC agree to put the payments due on hold. If penalties are being appealed, you do not need to make any payment until the appeal is settled.
Your accountant can assist you with an appeal, if you are unsure on the appeal process or require assistance, MJB Avanti can help you.
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