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Daring to appeal

Baring to appeal



Generally speaking, tax is fairly and justly inspected and collected by the HMRC/Inland Revenue. If you think about the many people who deliberately and constructively try to get out of paying the tax they owe and leave the burden to everyone else, you will be thankful that the Taxman is as efficient and relentless as he is.

However, there can be times when you feel that the tax you have been asked to pay is not fair or the way you were treated was not reasonable, and you may have challenged the Taxman. If your challenge to the Taxman was not handled in the way you felt your case deserved, you may feel that you want to complain and appeal. You can write letters of complaint to the Taxman, his immediate boss and his Director. You may be successful in resolving the matter yourself. But if you feel a more formal approach is needed, TaxRelief can handle an appeal on your behalf.

TaxRelief's Appeal Service can be a combination of some or all of the following:

  • Writing to the HMRC/Inland Revenue to deal with your case in writing.
  • Meeting up with the Taxman to attempt to negotiate a compromise and resolve your case.
  • Representing you in concluding an HMRC/Inland Revenue Enquiry or Investigation.
  • Preparing and submitting a formal complaint to the Adjudicator about the way your tax affairs have been handled by the HMRC/Inland Revenue.
  • Preparing a report on your complaint about the HMRC/Inland Revenue for submission to the Parliamentary Ombudsman through your MP.
  • Arranging, preparing and conducting a tax appeal with the General or Special Commissioners.

Obviously, it is preferable if an equitable solution to the problems in your case can be reached through informal negotiation. Sometimes this is possible. Sometimes it is not. Each case is different. There are times when the taxpayer and the Taxman reach a stalemate and simply introducing a fresh, independent third party can be enough to resolve the dispute. Some cases are not straightforward enough to be sorted out informally and the appeals and complaints avenues have to be explored..

TaxRelief will look at each case on its own merits and advise you on the best course of action. If you want TaxRelief to handle the negotiation, appeal or complaint on your behalf, you will be charged a flat fee which will cover you for a six-month period during which time some or all of the appeals and complaints procedures will be followed as appropriate and as agreed. You will only be charged for extras such as postage, parking and travel. TaxRelief will do as much work as is necessary to reach the best possible solution with the HMRC/Inland Revenue by informal negotiation. If this is not satisfactory, your appeal and/or complaint can be prepared, launched and conducted on your behalf.

Typically, our charges for handling your case will be £500 for a case which can be resolved within six months by informal negotiation. If the case goes to appeal or if formal representation needs to be made to the Adjudicator or Ombudsman then the fee will be £1,000.

If your case goes before the Commissioners, you don't necessarily need to attend - although you can if you want to. The whole complaints and appeals procedure can be stressful and very time-consuming Our Appeals Service is aimed at relieving you of this so that you can get on with your life and work. TaxRelief will not take on a case unless there is a good chance of success or improvement - so we will examine the merits of each case before deciding whether or not to take it on. We will advise you as to whether there is room for negotiation or appeal in our opinion.

Daring to appeal

The cartoon above (published on the HMRC/Inland Revenue's own website) is captioned "Two Commissioners comparing methods". Don't worry - the General Commissioners are just ordinary, decent people and are not allowed to use sharp instruments. In a tax appeal, they listen to the case presented by the taxpayer, and to the response from the Taxman and take into consideration all the circumstances surrounding the individual situation. They are advised by a Clerk to the Commissioners who will guide them in the tax laws relating to the dispute. Ultimately, the Commissioners have to stick to the law, but will also take into consideration factors such as "what is just and reasonable" which are open to interpretation.

While the General Commissioners hear appeals which are straightforward, such as income tax, more complex issues such as inheritance tax are heard by the Special Commissioners. TaxRelief can represent you and save you a considerable amount of money in the preparation and conduct of Special Commissioners’ hearings.

If you want to ask TaxRelief whether your case is suitable for our Appeal Service, email us with a brief ( preferably not more than one page) summary. We can be contacted on:


The Taxpayers’ Guide


Handling your tax appeals
Concluding your Inland
  Revenue Enquiry /
Managing your Inland
  Revenue complaints
Taking your tax appeal
  to the Commissioners
Negotiating your tax
Saving you thousands in
  professional fees

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