Three Judge Upper Tribunal panel allows Tax Credit Appeals test case

27 July 2016

In an important test case, VK v Commissioners for HMRC [2016] UKUT 0331 (AAC), brought by the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG), it has been held that tax credit claimants have always been able to make a late appeal against decisions made by HMRC.

The decision reverses previous case law which held that late appeals were not possible in the period between 2008 and 2014, and means that thousands of claimants may now be able to have refusals to admit their late appeal reconsidered.

In the case, HMRC had decided in 2012 that the claimant, VK, had been overpaid credits in 2010/11, as she had claimed as a single person but was now considered to have been a member of a couple. Her appeal was made outside the basic 30 day time limit. Applying previous case law, the appeal tribunal refused to consider her appeal as, due to an error in drafting new legislation in 2008, the rule permitting a late appeal had been removed. However, judges in the Upper Tribunal have now ruled that that was wrong, and that rules always did allow late tax credit appeals to be considered.

Many claimants, especially those subject to controversial HMRC decisions about overpayments made before 2014 and who tried to appeal late but were barred, may be affected by the decision. CPAG estimate that somewhere between 1,000 and 3,000 claimants may be in this situation.

Garden Court North Chambers’ Tom Royston appeared pro bono in the Upper Tribunal and was instructed by Mike Spencer of CPAG.

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