COVID-19: Tax Tribunals

Last updated 21 April 2020

On 24 March 2020, it was announced that all proceedings in the First-Tier Tax Tribunal (FTT) would be stayed for a period of 28 days in light of the COVID-19 crisis.  In a further announcement on 21 April 2020, this general stay was extended in certain cases: 

  • All proceedings received by the FTT before 24 March 2020 and assigned at any time before 21 April 2020 to the standard or complex category will be further stayed up to and including 30 June 2020.
  • The dates of all hearing windows and for compliance with all time limits in those proceedings are further extended by 70 days.

On 24 March 2020 the FTT also announced a number of changes to how procedures would be dealt with once this stayed period has expired:

  • Until further notice there will be no hearings at which persons are physically present (unless it is a priority case and permission is given by the Chamber President).
  • All applications and substantive appeals will be dealt with on papers / email as far as possible.
  • If a matter can’t be dealt with on papers, a telephone or video hearing will be arranged.
  • If a case is not suitable for telephone or video hearing it will be listed for a physical hearing at a date in the future when it is safe to do so.
  • All judges will work remotely, and parties should therefore provide, wherever possible, electronic copies of documents by email.
  • The ability to process any appeals, applications or other communications will be dependent on there being sufficient staff in the FTT’s administrative centre in Birmingham.

On 3 April 2020 the tribunal service further informed us that:

  • Appellants should, where possible, submit notices of appeal online here or by email. 
  • Except where the online appeal service is used, parties should expect delays in receiving any acknowledgement of receipt of an appeal from the tribunal. 
  • Appellants should continue to comply with the relevant time limits for lodging an appeal.
  • Where appellants are unable to submit their notice of appeal within the prescribed time limit, they should submit it as soon as possible with an application for permission to appeal late explaining why the notice of appeal was not provided in time. 
  • All parties must continue to comply with directions issued by the tribunal.  The stay of general proceedings and extension of time set out above do not affect any directions issued by the Tribunal after 24 March 2020. 
  • All emails and communications will be acknowledged and replied to in due course, though it may take time to deal with any backlog.

Further updates can be found on the FTT page on GOV.UK.