RSTP6001 - Dispute resolution

Chapter 6 of the RSTPA 2014 legislation guidance covering dispute resolution, including review, mediation and appeal.

One of our key priorities is to minimise tax disputes by ‘getting it right first time’ and by providing clear information to the people we deal with. Where disputes do occur, we will aim to resolve the dispute as efficiently as possible.

RSTP6001A sets out the approach we take to resolving tax disputes in the form of a series of non-statutory principles, our Settlement and Litigation Principles (‘SLPs’). RSTP6001A also provides guidance to accompany the SLPs.  

‘Disputes’ should be distinguished from complaints which are the subject of our complaints policy. Complaints arise when you are unhappy with the way that we have dealt with your case. Complaints are not therefore issues about the substantive decisions as to your tax liability. A more comprehensive definition of what is meant by a tax dispute is at RSTP6001A

A person (the appellant) who disagrees with a decision that we have made can request:

  • a review (which is an internal Revenue Scotland procedure - see RSTP6006); or
  • an appeal (which is heard by the independent Scottish Tax Tribunals - see RSTP6008),

against the decision as long as it is permitted by law. Such decisions are termed ‘appealable decisions’. Mediation can also be entered into at any stage, including following the conclusion of a review, as long as both parties to the dispute agree (see RSTP6007).

Where a review, mediation or appeal is underway any tax or interest charged to you, or penalties imposed on you, remain due and payable to us as normal. An application for postponement of tax, penalties or interest can be made by you to us, but this is only available in relation to LBTT and where exceptional circumstances apply (see RSTP6014).

Most decisions that we make are appealable decisions (see RSTP6002) but there are some which are not (see RSTP6003), or are only appealable decisions in certain circumstances (see RSTP6004). This guidance provides information on the dispute resolution policy and process relating to these appealable decisions.

Further guidance on the operation and function of the Scottish Tax Tribunals is available on the Scottish Tax Tribunals website, or you can email the Scottish Tax Tribunals at:

Unless indicated otherwise, in this chapter of guidance:

  • ‘appellant’ means a person who disagrees with an appealable decision we have made (see RSTP6002 and RSTP6004) and who gives a notice of review or appeal in relation to that decision; this person will usually be a taxpayer;
  • ‘matter in question’ means the matter to which a review, mediation or appeal relates;
  • ‘tribunal’ has the same meaning given in RSTP1000 - the First-tier Tax Tribunal for Scotland or, where relevant, the Upper Tax Tribunal for Scotland, which collectively are known as the Scottish Tax Tribunals. These Tribunals are separate from the UK Tribunals which currently hear appeals concerning reserved taxes;
  • ‘we’, ‘us’ or ‘our’ means Revenue Scotland. ‘We’, ‘us’ or ‘our’ also includes Registers of Scotland or the Scottish Environment Protection Agency where either is carrying out a function delegated to it by us under section 4 of the RSTPA 2014; and
  • ‘you’ or ‘your’ means the appellant (who will usually be a taxpayer) or an agent acting on behalf of the appellant.

The guidance is structured as follows: