If HMRC did not act on information given

You can ask HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) to cancel tax you owe (arrears) if you think they have made a mistake because they did not act on information they had. 

You can do this by asking for an extra-statutory concession (‘ESC A19’) if you owe: 

  • income tax, for example because you were on the wrong tax code 
  • capital gains tax 
  • class 4 National Insurance contributions 


You can ask for an ESC A19 if all of the following apply: 

  • HMRC have not used tax information provided to them, for example about a change of income or job 
  • HMRC told you about the tax you owe more than 12 months after the end of the tax year in which they received your information 
  • you have a reasonable belief that your tax affairs are up to date 

The tax information could have come from: 

  • you 
  • your employer 
  • the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) 

Self assessment 

You cannot normally cancel tax owed via self assessment, unless there are exceptional circumstances, for example where HMRC: 

  • told you about two or more years of PAYE tax owed 
  • failed to act on information you have given them more than once 

How to make a claim 

Call or write to HMRC (external link) to make a claim. 

You should do this before you pay any of the tax you owe. But if you have already made a payment, HMRC may be able to refund it. 

You must tell HMRC: 

  • which arrears you are disputing, including the tax year 
  • the information HMRC should have acted on and when it was provided 
  • why you thought your tax was up to date 

You may be able to delay paying a penalty (external link) until your appeal has been settled. 

If you disagree with HMRC’s decision 

  • You can ask for the decision to be reviewed if you do not agree with the outcome.