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Challenging a Tax Credit decision - Appeal against the Tax Credits decision

If you think a tax credit decision is wrong, you may be able to get the decision changed.

Appeal against the Tax Credits decision

If you are not happy with HM Revenue and Customs' (HMRC's) mandatory reconsideration notice (see previous page) then you can move onto the second stage of the appeals, process and ask an independent tribunal to look at the decision. You must have asked for a mandatory reconsideration before you can appeal to the tribunal.

When you appeal a decision, it will be looked at by an independent tribunal, which is completely separate from the HMRC Tax Credit Office.


You must make your appeal in writing to the tribunal service directly. HMRC will not automatically send the appeal to the tribunal service.

If you appeal on the official appeal form, this can help you to give all the information that is needed.

In England, Wales and Scotland, you can find the appeal form - SSCS5 - on the Gov.UK website. There are also SSCS5 guidance notes that will help you fill the form. You will need to send one copy of the mandatory reconsideration notice that you received from HMRC with your appeal to the tribunal service.

In Northern Ireland you will need to use appeal form NOA1 (HMRC).

Time limit

In England, Wales and Scotland, you have one calendar month from the date on the mandatory reconsideration notice that you received from HMRC (see previous page).

In Northern Ireland, you must send your appeal to the appeals service within 30 days of the date the mandatory reconsideration notice was sent to you (the date on the top of the notice). 

Late appeal

If you missed the deadline for reasons out of your control, such as illness or bereavement, you may be given more time to appeal.

When you appeal, you should explain why it is late. There is a special section on the appeal form where you can give reasons why your appeal is late. If HMRC do not object to your reasons for appealing late, they will carry on with the appeal as if it was made on time.

If HMRC do object to your late appeal, the tribunal will write to you and they will decide whether to accept the late appeal, if you made the appeal within 13 months from the date on the mandatory reconsideration notice. After 13 months, the appeal cannot be accepted even if you have good reason for it being late.

The First Tier Tribunal

Once your appeal form is received by the tribunal (or appeals service in Northern Ireland), you will normally receive an enquiry form. You might be able to get help from a local advice agency with your appeal.  The tribunal will ask HMRC for more information about your case and you will receive copies of the papers that HMRC send to the tribunal. You can read more about what happens when you appeal in our First Tier Tribunal Appeals guide.

The First Tier Tribunal will decide if you are legally entitled to a benefit and can change a decision if they think it is wrong.


The tribunal could make a decision that leaves you worse off so it is often best to seek advice before deciding whether to appeal.

The tribunal cannot:

  • Change the law
  • Deal with administrative complaints, like delay or poor service (see Complaints about your claim)
  • Consider changes of circumstances which have taken place since the decision was made - you may be able to make a new benefit or tax credit claim.

For information about what happens when your appeal is received by the Tribunal Service (England, Scotland and Wales), or Appeals Service (Northern Ireland), see our First Tier Tribunal Appeals guide.

Reviewed: April 2022

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