The Tax tribunal has recently tightened its procedures in relation to emailed appeal applications to bring them into line with First Tier Tribunal (FTT) rules. Whereas previously an authorised representative could file an emailed appeal form on behalf of a client, without the client’s physical signature, now only ‘legal representatives’ are permitted to do so without separate authority being lodged with the Tribunal.
Who does this affect?
‘Legal representatives’ are defined as persons authorised under the Legal Services Act 2007. While this does encompass solicitors and barristers, it does not include accountants and tax advisers who are not also legally qualified. This could affect many CIOT members.
How should non-legally qualified representatives proceed?
Non legal representatives, such as tax advisers and accountants, can still submit the appeal form direct without the appellant’s signature, provided that the appellant notifies the Tribunal that the representative is acting on their behalf.
It is recommended that a properly signed letter of authority from the client should be sent by fax or scanned and emailed to the FTT with the appeal. All postal appeals must be signed by the appellant.
As of yet, the Tribunal are not taking a prescriptive approach as to the form of the appellant’s authority and an email from an email address that clearly identifies the appellant is sufficient evidence.
Rejection of appeal forms
If an unsigned appeal form is filed without such notification, the form will be sent back to the client along with a form to be completed authorising the representative. The appellant may then email the form unsigned directly themselves.
Members need to make sure that all formalities are correctly dealt with within the 30 day appeal time limit."
A cynic may say that this is a further step towards a takeover by the legal profession. We now have Judges instead of Chairmen.
Any other views?