First Tier Tribunal (Tax) Appeals and Reasonable Excuses

by kudoswd on February 6, 2013

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First Tier Tribunal hears appeals against tax decisions made by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC). There are many reasons for appealing against the tax decisions and the appeals can range from simple to complex. First Tier Tribunals can hear appeals about direct tax (levied directly on an organisation, such as income or corporation tax) or indirect tax (levied on goods or services rather than on the organisation, such as VAT or customs duty).

In most first tier tribunal hearings it is up to the appellant to show why the decision is wrong and to bring evidence to the tribunal that can prove why this decision is wrong. It is advisory to bring as much evidence as possible, even if there are doubts about its validity, relying on the hearing being adjourned to another occasion so that you can bring more evidence can be a huge mistake in some cases. Witnesses are permitted at first tier tribunals if they are needed as evidence to prove the case. It is normally up to the appellant to arrange for the witness to attend the tribunal but if a witness is reluctant to attend, the tribunal has the power to summon the witness to attend.

When appealing against HMRC tax decisions, the appellant may believe that they have a reasonable excuse as to why they are appealing against the decision. Certain circumstances can often affect priorities and sometimes it might simply not be possible to file returns on time. Reasonable excuses are quite hard to define as what you might believe is a perfectly understandable situation, HRMC might not. You might want to speak to professional criminal solicitors who deal with first tier tribunals to gain a better understanding of what you are required to do next.

A reasonable excuse can be an unexpected or unusual event or situation which is beyond control that prevented you from meeting the deadline. It is still important that you do try to send your return or payment as soon as you can or let HMRC know about any reasonable excuses before the deadline so that you can use this as evidence in your appeal. There are no set guidelines as to what a reasonable excuse is so it is important to document all eventualities that lead to the decision made by HMRC. Some examples of a reasonable excuse are; serious illnesses, bereavement of a partner or family member, unexpected issues with the postal service, important documents lost or damaged through fire, theft or flood, issues on HMRC’s side, or late receipt of your online activation code, user ID or password. HMRC understand that some situations in a person’s life occur uncontrollably and you may be unable to meet deadlines, this is why reasonable excuses are accepted in your appeal.

To find out more information about First Tier Tribunals visit Olliers Criminal Solicitors.




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