Tax Appeals Commission
On 21 March 2016, the Finance (Tax Appeals) Act 2015 (pdf) came into operation. This Act gives effect to a revised tax appeals process. It also established a new Tax Appeals Commission that replaces the former Office of the Appeal Commissioners.
The role of the Tax Appeals Commission
The Tax Appeals Commission (TAC) adjudicates, hears and determines appeals against decisions of the Revenue Commissioners concerning taxes and duties under the Finance (Tax Appeals) Act 2015, the Taxes Consolidation Act 1997 as amended and other related legislation. It currently comprises of 2 Appeal Commissioners appointed by the Minister for Finance. The Appeal Commissioners are appointed for 7 years.
Changes to the appeals process
The Tax Appeals Commission is an independent statutory body. Several aspects of the legislation underpin this independence. One of the main changes is that all appeals (other than customs duties and Vehicle Registration Tax "first-stage" appeals) are now made directly to the Tax Appeals Commission and not to Revenue. The Appeal Commissioners have sole responsibility for accepting or refusing appeals although Revenue can raise objections to appeals.
If both parties agree, the Appeal Commissioners can make determinations based on written submissions (rather than a full hearing). However you can insist on a hearing if you wish.
By default all hearings are public. However you can request that a hearing (or part of a hearing) be held in private. The Appeal Commissioners are required to publish anonymised versions of all of their determinations.
Another significant change is that appeals can no longer be reheard before a Circuit Court Judge. You can appeal to the High Court on a point of law but not in relation to the facts.
The appeals process
How do I appeal a Revenue decision or assessment?
You can send the completed form to the Tax Appeals Commission (TAC) by email or by post. An electronic system is being developed so that, in future, tax appeals can be made online.
In general, you, or an agent acting on your behalf, have 30 days from the date of the notice of assessment or decision issue by Revenue to submit an appeal. However, in certain limited circumstances, it may be possible to have a late appeal accepted. These circumstances are set out in the TAC Rules of Procedure.
You will be advised as soon as possible if Revenue raises an objection to your appeal application and you will be given an opportunity to respond in writing to that objection. However, the decision to accept your appeal application will be taken by the TAC.
After an appeal has been accepted
When your appeal has been accepted, you may be asked to provide further information (a statement of case) and supporting documentation. If you have been asked to provide a statement of case you must share your statement plus any associated documents with the other party to the appeal.
A case management conference, or more than one such conference, may need to be held to help progress a case. A Commissioner will normally fix a date and time for an initial conference following the receipt of the statement of case, and this will be notified to you at least 14 days before the date of the conference.
The Commissioners may decide that it is appropriate to adjudicate on a matter under appeal without a hearing. If so, they will notify both parties in writing of their intention to adjudicate without a hearing. You can insist that a hearing takes place and you will have 21 days to do so. If neither party objects, the Commissioners may adjudicate on the matter without holding a hearing.
If a hearing of your appeal is to take place, you will generally be told of this at least 14 days in advance.
Under the legislation, the default position is that every hearing will be heard in public. However, it is open to you to seek a direction from the Commissioner that a hearing or a part of a hearing be held in camera (in private).
How long will it take to determine my appeal?
The Commissioners will determine your appeal as soon as possible after they adjudicate on that appeal and will, whenever possible, advise the parties after a hearing of how long it is likely to take for the appeal to be determined.
Within 21 days of their determining the appeal, the Commissioners will notify you in writing of their determination. An anonymised report of the determination will be published on the website of the Commission within 90 days of the determination being notified to you in writing.
Is the hearing by the Commissioners the final stage in the appeals process?
Decisions of the Appeal Commissioners are final and conclusive. However, you can appeal to the High Court in situations where you consider that the Appeal Commissioners erred in their determinations in relation to a point of law only, but not in relation to the facts.