Child Benefit and Guardian's Allowance: Submitting an appeal

The information below applies to both child benefit and guardian’s allowance.

What is the appeals process for decisions made on or after 6 April 2014?

For decisions made on or after 6 April 2014, there is a two stage process to follow. The first stage is to ask HMRC to reconsider their original decision. This is called mandatory reconsideration. The second stage is to appeal to the First-tier Tribunal. This is called ‘direct lodgement’.

Who can request a mandatory reconsideration?

Usually the person who made the claim or who was paid the benefit submits the request. But they can ask an independent adviser to help them. An appointee claiming on behalf of someone else can ask for a mandatory reconsideration for that person.

How do I request a mandatory reconsideration?

You can request a mandatory reconsideration by telephone or in writing using form CH24A.  We suggest that you send the request in writing and get proof of postage and keep a copy of the form.

You must ask for the reconsideration within 1 month of the date of the child benefit decision notice.

Late requests for mandatory reconsideration are possible, as long as they are made within 13 months from the date on the award notice or letter. If your request for reconsideration is late you must:

1.    Explain you are applying for an extension of the 1 month time limit
2.    Give reasons why you are asking for a late request

HMRC will only accept a late request if they are satisfied that due to special circumstances it was not practical for your request to be within the 1 month time limit and it would be reasonable in the circumstances for you to be given an extension.

Under the old appeal process (for decisions made before 6 April 2014), if HMRC refused a late appeal it would be up to the Tribunal to decide whether it could be accepted. However, under the new rules, there is no right of appeal against HMRC’s refusal to allow a late mandatory reconsideration request.

HMRC will then review their decision, taking into account the points in your request and make a mandatory reconsideration decision. There is no time limit for them to do this other than they must do it ‘as soon as reasonably practicable’. This will either be that the original decision stands (they refuse your request for reconsideration), they change the original decision or they cancel the original decision.

You will receive two copies of a ‘mandatory reconsideration notice’.  This should explain why HMRC have made their decision.

What if I am not happy with the mandatory reconsideration decision?

The mandatory reconsideration notice should also explain what to do if you are not happy with HMRC’s decision. You will have 1 calendar month from the date when the Mandatory Reconsideration notice was sent to you in which to send your appeal to the Tribunals service. Your appeal is not treated as made until it is received by the Tribunal service.

Under the old process, HMRC would send the case to Tribunal, but under the new system you are responsible for sending the appeal to the Tribunal service. This is called ‘direct lodgement’.

To do this, you will need to fill in form SSCS5. You can find guidance on appealing the decision from HM Courts and Tribunals Service leaflet SSCS5A.

Can I withdraw my appeal?

You can withdraw your appeal if you decide you do not wish to go ahead with it. If HMRC object to you doing this, they must write to you within 30 days.  If they don’t do this, your appeal is treated as withdrawn.

Should I take legal advice?

Although appeal tribunals are less formal than going to court, you should still get advice about preparing your case. A local welfare rights organisation, such as Citizens Advice, may be able to offer you support with your appeal.

What is the appeals process for decisions made before 6 April 2014?

Before an Appeal

Before an appeal, your client should ask HMRC for an explanation of their decision. If they are unhappy with the explanation, your client can ask HMRC to have another look at the case. If your client still doesn’t agree with the new decision, they may be able to appeal, but the appeal normally still has to be made within one month of the date of their decision.

Who can appeal?

Usually the person who made the claim or who was paid the benefit makes the appeal. But they can ask an independent adviser to help them. An appointee claiming on behalf of someone else can make the appeal for that person.

Deadline for appeals

Normally, an appeal has to be made within one month of the date of decision. In special cases HMRC will give more time but you must tell them a valid reason for making a late appeal. They can't accept an appeal dated 13 months or more after the decision in any case. If they cannot accept a late appeal they will pass the request to an independent tribunal to decide.

How to appeal

An appeal needs to be in writing. Your client can complete and send the appeal form (CH24A) or send a signed letter with the following details:

Your client must say what they think is wrong. Send the completed form or letter to:

HM Revenue and Customs
Child Benefit Office

Last reviewed/updated 2 August 2021