There is now a new online system for lodging an appeal with the Tax Tribunals. This was highlighted in a recent HMRC blog for agents, Appealing a decision through HM Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS)
The online service is available for appeals which can be made direct to the Tribunal (eg, indirect tax appeals or applications for enquiry closure notices) or for appeals which have been made first to HMRC (ie, for most direct taxes) but are now being lodged with the Tribunal because agreement cannot be reached.
HMRC lists the benefits of the online service as follows:
The tax matters on which appeals must first be lodged with HMRC include: income tax, PAYE tax, corporation tax, capital gains tax, national insurance contributions, statutory sick pay, statutory maternity/paternity pay, inheritance tax.
Taxpayers have the option of using HMRC’s statutory review process before taking an appeal to the Tribunal.
In addition, it is well worth considering the option of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), which can be used in a wide variety of situations, either before or after an appeal has been made.
The Tax Faculty would be interested in members’ experiences of the online appeals system if you use it on behalf of your clients. We would also be interested in your experiences of the appeals process generally, including statutory review, and of ADR. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
I have used this three times now and found it very good - the reply is instantaneous and the immediate granting of a reference number extremely useful. It has enabled me to contact HMRC solicitors the day that the appeals have been lodged in order to agree procedures for handling them (there were particular reasons for wanting this and expecting them to agree it, which would not be normal), all without getting the usual HMRC bureaucracy involved, and at the same time giving a suitably positive impression to clients about the procedure.
One point that does need making clear however is that ADR is not an alternative to appealing to the tribunal. ADR is not recognised by the Taxes Management Act, and so if it is desired to do this a tribunal appeal should be lodged as well. The tribunal is required by its own rules to support the ADR process, so the thing to do is, once you have this reference, to apply to the tribunal for a stay whilst the ADR process is gone through. They should grant this automatically. However if you do not do this you will risk losing your right to go to the tribunal if ADR fails.