Taxpayers Have 1 in 4 Chance of Winning at Tribunal

Mar 5, 2015


By Lyndsey Hall


According to an article on Accounting Web, taxpayers have a one in four chance of successfully appealing an HMRC decision at tribunal.

Government figures show that, in the tax year 2013-14, 7,081 appeals were made against HMRC decisions, and 6,626 were settled. Of the remaining 455, only 113 appeals were successful.

Wolters Kluwer VAT expert, Glyn Edwards, has advised accountants to warn their clients about the difficulty of appealing against a decision by HMRC.

“Only a few hundred appeals get to tribunal and those that do are more likely to be won by HMRC than the taxpayer.”

According to Edwards, even if the taxpayer wins their case at first tier tribunal, they cannot claim back any costs, so they should avoid spending more than the tax is worth. “If an accountant feels the client has a strong case then it is certainly worth making an appeal, but only if the client has expert help, as those who represent themselves are more likely to lose.”

According to Wolters Kluwer, HMRC win nearly 90% of cases where the taxpayer claims they had a “reasonable excuse” for late payment of a VAT return.

Wolters Kluwer have provided some tips for appealing at tribunal, such as “call witnesses who can testify the facts” and “request to see all of HMRC’s documents in advance”.

If you need help with a tax enquiry or investigation, Tax Champion, part of the Knowles Warwick group, could help. We have experience of successfully defending clients at first tier tribunal and will be able to advise you on an individual basis about your specific case.


Have you ever appealed against a decision by HMRC? Were you successful? We’d love to hear from you, leave us a message in the Comments or get in touch on Twitter and Facebook.



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