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

Find out more about Challenging a Tax Credit decision.

Appeal against the Tax Credits decision

An appeal is a way of telling the tax credit office that you think a decision is wrong.

When you appeal a decision, it will be looked at by an independent tribunal, which is completely separate from the benefit office.


You must make your appeal in writing.

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

The HMRC leaflet ‘How to appeal against a Tax Credit decision or award’ will tell you how to start your appeal and includes a copy of the appeal form.

*Download a copy of the leaflet and form about appealing against a tax credit decision or award from the HMRC website

*Pick up a copy of the appeal leaflet and form from your local tax office, or

*Write to HMRC using the address on your decision letter.

If you decide to appeal by writing to the tax credit office, make sure you include the following details:

  • Your name and contact address

  • Your national insurance number

  • The date of the decision you are appealing against

  • The decision you are appealing against

  • Why you think the decision is wrong

  • Your signature.

If you don't include all these details your appeal may have to be returned to you.

Time limit

You have 30 days from the date of the latest decision. This is the date shown at the top of your decision letter.

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.

If the benefit office doesn’t think you have a good reason for appealing late they will pass your request to the Tribunal Service who will decide if your appeal can be accepted or if it is too late to be heard.

An appeal can’t be accepted if it is one year and 30 days or more since the date of the decision

Possible outcomes

Look again at the decision

If they haven’t already, a different decision maker will look at the decision and decide whether it should be changed.

If they decide that they can’t change the original decision, your appeal will carry on.

If they decide that the original decision is wrong, they will change the decision and send you a new decision letter:

  • If the new decision makes you better off your appeal will stop. You can appeal this new decision if you think it is wrong

  • If the new decision does not make you better off, your appeal will carry on, but now it will be against the new decision.

Send appeal on to Tribunal Service or Appeals Service (Northern Ireland)

If your appeal carries on, your appeal form will be sent to HM Courts and Tribunals Service, who run the First Tier Tribunal. The benefit office will also include their response. This explains:

  • How they came to their decision

  • What information they used

  • What benefit law they based their decision on.

The First Tier Tribunal

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.

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