VAT Appeals & Review Solicitors

If you are involved in a disagreement over tax, having the right legal experts at your side can make all the difference to the eventual outcome. At Lawtons we have a highly specialised team of solicitors with wide-ranging experience of these types of cases and a detailed understanding of how HMRC operates. We will guide you through every step of the appeal process and all its regulations, as set out below, and examine all evidence to build the most convincing case that we can. Speak to our friendly team today by calling 0333 577 0522 for a consultation.

What is the VAT appeal process?

It is relatively common for taxpayers to disagree with judgements made by HMRC. If your input tax exceeds your output tax and you have been denied a VAT reclaim then it is possible to appeal this with the First Tier Tax Tribunal if your other options, as set out below, are exhausted. The process for appeals if you find yourself in disagreement with HMRC is relatively simple and usually consists of two stages:

Stage 1

Giving notice of appeal to HMRC in writing, within 30 days of HMRC making its decision. At this stage HMRC may confirm its decision, amend its decision or agree with your assessment. 

Stage 2

If you cannot come to an agreement with HMRC in stage 1 then you have two more options:

  • An internal review within HMRC, conducted by a different decision maker to the person who made the original judgement
  • Appealing to the First Tier Tax Tribunal if an agreement cannot be reached after the review. This independent tribunal will then make a judgement on the case, and a further appeal is permitted if you still do not agree with the decision. 

What happens during the VAT appeal process?

It is important to follow trusted legal guidance at every stage of the appeal process in order to ensure you are completing your part of it correctly and that no further disputes can arise as a result of mistakes. Having professional tax dispute specialists at your side can make all the difference to the appeal’s ultimate outcome. 

At Lawtons we will help you to closely examine the decision letter sent by HMRC in the first instance. This will contain specific instructions on how to appeal and may include an appeal form. A late response can put an end to your appeal before it has even begun, so it is crucial to ensure that you appeal promptly within 30 days. 

During stage 2 of the appeals process the internal review will be carried out by an independent pair of eyes within HMRC – not to redetermine whether the original judgement was fair but to give a fresh perspective and an unbiased interpretation of the facts, in order to decide whether the judgement was made in accordance with HMRC’s guidelines.

While it may seem like the internal review stage takes the appeal out of your hands, it has its advantages. It must be conducted to a strict timescale, meaning you will not have to wait long, and around half of all internal reviews result in HMRC decisions being dropped or amended.

If you are unsatisfied with the outcome of HMRC’s internal investigation and decide to appeal to the Tax Tribunal, having a legal expert on hand will help to ensure you follow the strict deadlines and prepare the most robust case possible.

What happens during the appeal to the First Tier Tax Tribunal?

It is not possible to appeal to the Tax Tribunal until the internal review at HMRC is complete, but when you do, you are turning the case over to a completely independent fact-finding body which will examine the evidence from both sides equally. Once a submission has been made, the case will be allocated to one of four categories:

  • Default paper cases which are uncomplicated and can usually be resolved without a hearing 
  • Basic cases such as standard tax penalties which are usually dealt with over the course of a single hearing 
  • Standard cases which can be dealt with in one day, with one witness providing uncontested evidence
  • Complex cases which can take much longer to resolve

If your case requires a hearing at the Tax Tribunal, we can advise you in advance for as long as you need, discussing all evidence, preparing the details of the appeal and rehearsing the case with you if needed. 

What cases can the Tax Tribunal deal with?

The tribunal deals with a wide range of cases which include:

Direct tax

  • Income tax
  • Corporation tax
  • Capital gains tax
  • NI contributions
  • Inheritance tax
  • Stamp duty land tax
  • Tax collected under the Construction Industry Scheme (CIS)

Indirect tax

  • VAT
  • Customs duty
  • Excise duties
  • Insurance premium tax
  • Landfill tax

Contact us today

If you are involved in a tax appeal or intend to dispute a decision made by HMRC, you are much more likely to be successful if you do not proceed further without expert assistance from legal specialists. At Lawtons we have the knowledge required for this complex area of law and will work closely with you to prepare the very best case possible. Do not hesitate to call our team today on 0333 577 0522.

FAQs about VAT Appeals

Why would HMRC change its decision after an internal review?

The internal review at HMRC will be carried out by a different member of staff from the original decision-maker and will therefore provide a new perspective on the issue. HMRC can make mistakes and many internal reviews can end up changing a decision.

Can First Tier Tax Tribunal cases be resolved in a single hearing?

Depending on the complexity of the case, it can be common for cases to be resolved in a single hearing, and these are known as basic cases. Default paper cases are ones which can be resolved without any need for a hearing.

Why do I need legal assistance for a tax appeal?

Having the help of an expert solicitor will increase the chances of success in any tax appeal case. At Lawtons we can help you to closely examine all paperwork, identify key details and make sure all steps are completed in line with strict timescales.