Introduction to this document

VAT appeal letter

If you disagree with a VAT assessment or decision made by HMRC, you can, in most cases, appeal against it or ask for HMRC for a review to consider cancelling the appeal. An appeal should always be made in writing and usually within 30 days of the date of the assessment or decision.

Resolving disagreements

First step - optional. If you disagree with HMRC over a VAT assessment, a penalty imposed or a ruling or decision you can ask for an Internal Review before making a formal appeal to the First-tier Tribunal. HMRC advises that in the first instance you should write to your local office and formally ask for an Internal Review. This is where an experienced, usually senior, officer, who wasn’t previously involved in the decision you disagree with, reviews an assessment or decision. If clearly inaccurate, it will usually be withdrawn, or reduced. This review must be completed within 45 days or if you agree longer.

Second step. Where you still disagree with HMRC or want to skip the Internal Review you can appeal to the First-tier Tribunal (Tax) against the assessment or ruling in question. This should be done using the official Notice of Appeal, which can be downloaded from

Time limit

An appeal needs to be made within 30 days of the disputed decision by HMRC, which is normally the date of the assessment letter (if you don’t want a review) or the date of the review conclusion letter. Once you have completed the Notice of Appeal form, use our VAT Appeal Letter to send it to HMRC. Your professional costs will be paid if the tribunal decides that HMRC acted unreasonably in the conduct of your case.