Syllabus A. UK Tax System & Administration A5. Checks, appeals and disputes

A5a/b. Compliance checks and self assessment 1 / 1

Syllabus A5a/b)

Explain the circumstances in which HM Revenue & Customs can make a compliance check into a self-assessment tax return.
Explain the procedures for dealing with appeals and First and Upper Tier Tribunals.


Tax appeals are heard by the Tax Tribunal which is made of:

  1. First Tier Tribunal

    Deals with most cases.

  2. Upper Tribunal

    Deals with complex cases.

What is a tax assessment?

Opening up a tax assessment means that either the taxpayer or HMRC thinks the taxpayer has paid too much or too little tax and wants this to be corrected.

The following table shows when a taxpayer or HMRC can open up a tax assessment.

HMRC can open a normal enquiry for a tax return, 12 months from the date of submission.

However, if HMRC suspects something more serious, they can raise a discovery assessment.

The time limit for raising this discovery assessment depends on the reason of suspicion of HMRC (mentioned below).

After HMRC raises a discovery assessment, taxpayers can raise an appeal within 30 days.

Taxpayers can make an amendment to his tax return 12m of the January filing date
Taxpayers claim for overpayment relief 4 years from the end of the tax year
HMRC can open an enquiry 12 months from submission of the return (If return was filed on or before the due date)

If filed after the due date, an enquiry can be opened on the anniversary of the quarter date following the actual submission of the return

The quarter dates are 31 January, 30 April, 31 July and 31 October.
HMRC can raise a discovery
—           No careless or deliberate behaviour 4 years from the end of the tax year
—           Tax lost due to careless behaviour 6 years from the end of the tax year
—           Tax lost due to deliberate behaviour 20 years from the end of the tax year
Taxpayers right of appeal 
against an assessment
30 days from the assessment — appeal in writing