Appealing against a tax credit decision

Find out what to do if you're not happy with a tax credits decision, and the steps to take before making an appeal.

On this page:

Decisions made before 6 April 2014

If the decision you're unhappy with is dated before 6 April 2014 you need to follow the guidance on the National Archives website.

Appealing against a tax credit decision on National Archives (Opens new window)


Before you appeal - first step

If you're unhappy, it's worth discussing the decision with the Tax Credit Office first. If they agree your award is wrong, they can make sure it's changed for you.

If you want to speak to someone about your tax credits award, call the Tax Credit Helpline.

Contact details for the Tax Credit Helpline


Next step - reconsideration

If you're still unhappy, you can make a formal request to have the decision looked at again. This is known as a reconsideration - or 'mandatory reconsideration'.

When can you ask for a reconsideration

The decision notice the Tax Credit Office sent you will tell you if you can ask for a reconsideration.

You can’t ask for a reconsideration, for example, if you've been asked to pay back an overpayment. But you can ask for a reconsideration if you think your tax credits award was wrong in the first place.

Options if you can't request a reconsideration

Where you've been asked to pay back an overpayment:

  • you have the right to dispute the overpayment if you think that the Tax Credit Office has made a mistake
  • you can ask the Tax Credit Office to look again at the repayments they've asked you to make, if you are having difficulty making them

How to dispute a tax credits overpayment

Difficulty repaying overpaid tax credits?


Who can ask for a reconsideration

This is usually the person who made the claim or who's been getting the tax credits. If you claim as a couple, only one of you needs to make the request.

You can ask someone like an independent adviser to help you by acting on your behalf.

If you're an appointee and claim tax credits for someone else, you can make the request for them.

What to do if you want someone to act on your behalf for tax credits


How to ask for a reconsideration

Your request needs to be in writing. You can:

You can ask someone like an independent adviser to help you by acting on your behalf.

  • send the Tax Credit Office a completed form WTC/AP
  • send the Tax Credit Office a letter

You must say what you think is wrong. You must also say which decision you want to be reconsidered.

Send your completed form or letter to:

Tax Credit Office

Download form WTC/AP 'What to do if you think your Child Tax Credit or Working Tax Credit is wrong (PDF 317K)


Deadline for reconsiderations

Normally, you have to make your request within 30 days of when the Tax Credit Office sent you their decision. In special cases they'll give you more time but you must tell them your reason for being late.

The Tax Credit Office can't accept your request for a reconsideration if you ask for it 13 months or more after they sent their decision.


What happens next

If the Tax Credit Office hasn't already done so, they'll check that the decision is correct and explain it. They will change the decision if it's wrong.

You’ll receive two copies of a 'mandatory reconsideration notice’. This will explain the law and the facts the Tax Credit Office used to make their decision.



If you're still unhappy you will need to appeal to an independent tribunal. The mandatory reconsideration notice the Tax Credit Office sends you will tell how.

The tribunal will be run by one of the following, depending on where you live:

  • for England, Scotland and Wales - HM Courts & Tribunals Service
  • for Northern Ireland - the Appeals Service Northern Ireland

If you want to know what happens after you've sent your appeal to the tribunal you can get more information from the relevant websites. To do this, follow the links below.

More about the Tribunals Service on the justice website (Opens new window)

More about the Appeals Service Northern Ireland on nidirect (Opens new window)


If your circumstances change

If anything changes that could affect your payments, you must let the Tax Credit Office know straight away.

Tax credits: changes you need to report and when


If you want independent advice

You can get help and free independent advice from a number of organisations - for example:

  • Citizens Advice
  • your trade union
  • Civil Legal Advice

You can also get advice from a solicitor or an accountant, but you'll have to pay for this.

Contact details for Citizens Advice on their website (Opens new window)

Contact details for Civil Legal Advice on GOV.UK (Opens new window)


More useful links

Tax credits - how to complain

Where to start if things go wrong with tax credits