Introduction to this document

Official error claim for tax not to be collected

If HMRC has delayed using information in its possession and this results in you paying too little tax, it can write off the arrears of tax under extra-statutory concession (ESC) A19. However, despite being fully aware of this concession, you may need to “remind” HMRC of it in writing.

Extra-statutory concession A19

In tax law there is a little known concession (ESC A19) which protects the taxpayer where HMRC demands past taxes but where delay by HMRC makes it unfair for them to be collected. For example, where you told HMRC about other income to include in your tax code, but it ignored it. Tax arrears can be written of if three conditions are met:

  1. HMRC failed to make “proper and timely” use of the information provided to it
  2. the taxpayer “could reasonably have believed that their affairs were in order”
  3. no notification was sent to the taxpayer within twelve months of the end of the tax year in question.

Resistance from HMRC

Unfortunately, HMRC routinely ignores this concession, even if the conditions are met, and will often send a tax demand with no mention of the concession. Use our Official Error Claim for Tax Not to be Collected letter to appeal against the tax demand. If HMRC still resists, take the complaint to the Tax Adjudicator.