The form that you will use for appealing a tax surcharge will differ depending on what tax the surcharge relates to. Generally, if HMRC has sent you a letter notifying you of your penalty in the post, it will be accompanied by an appeal form that you can fill in and return to the department who sent out the penalty letter.

If your penalty relates to Self-Assessment, PAYE, VAT or Corporation Tax, there are additional ways that you can appeal.


If your penalty has arisen from the late reporting, late payment or non-payment of PAYE then you can use HMRC’s PAYE for Employers service to appeal the surcharge or penalty. If you log into the site, you can navigate to the section called “Appeal a Penalty” and fill in the online form on the website.

VAT or Corporation Tax

When it comes to appealing surcharges relating to VAT bill arrears or late payment of Corporation Tax, HMRC is very strict about the circumstances in which you can appeal. You should check that you are eligible to appeal before proceeding with the appeal.

If you think that you do fit within the appeal criteria, you can appeal by returning the appeal form sent to you in the post or you can appeal through a signed letter.

If you choose to appeal via letter, you must make sure that the letter contains all of the necessary information. This includes:

  • Your name
  • The relevant reference number (this will be your VAT registration number or Corporation Tax registration number)
  • A detailed explanation of the circumstances surrounding the non-payment or the late payment of the tax and why this caused the late payment. You really need to go into as much detail as possible here and refer to dates where appropriate.
  • If the late payment or filing occurred because of technical issues, you need to tell HMRC about the issues (again in as much detail as possible).

You need to send the letter to the HMRC office who handle your return.

Self Assessment

If your penalty or surcharge relates to Self Assessment taxes, you can choose to file the appeal against the surcharges using a paper form, which you post to HMRC or appealing online using your Government Gateway details.

Postal Form

You can access the Self Assessment Penalty Appeal form here.

Appeal Online

If you have a Government Gateway ID, you can appeal against a surcharge for late payment or filing of self-assessment here.

Received a Penalty Notice from HMRC?

If you’ve received a penalty notice, the most important thing for you to do is to take action quickly. HMRC’s penalties and interest mount quickly, so if you take action when you receive the first notice, you’re more likely to prevent being faced with a larger amount at a later date. If you have substantial tax arrears but cannot pay them immediately, we’re happy to provide advice and help in the negotiation process.

Need Advice?

If your company is struggling to pay its taxes, you should take appropriate steps to address the situation. We have years of experience in helping to turn struggling companies around and negotiating with HMRC to come to an agreement about how the company can pay its tax debts. Do not try and use illegal fixes like fraudulent expenses to try and manage the situation. Call us on 08000 746 757 for a confidential discussion or use the live chat function below.