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Apply for a review

If you believe that you should not have been issued a notice, you can appeal.

To appeal against a notice, the first step is to apply to us for a review.

This page explains the process and what you can expect from us. We also tell you about the circumstances where a review is not likely to succeed and what you can do if you disagree with our review decision.

Which types of notices can be reviewed?

You can apply for a review if you have received one or more of the following notices or penalties:

  • Compliance notice
  • Unpaid contributions notice
  • Fixed penalty notice
  • Escalating penalty notice
  • Third party compliance notice
  • Prohibited recruitment conduct compliance notice
  • Prohibited recruitment conduct penalty notice

How to apply for a review

Apply for a review online

You must apply within 28 days of the date of the notice.

If you apply later than 28 days you will need to tell us why. We will look at your reason for the delay and at the information you provide and decide if, in exceptional circumstances, we will consider your application for a review.

Who can apply?

We will only accept a review application from the person or organisation that the notice was issued to, or someone authorised to act on their behalf.

What information do I need to provide?

We will only accept a review application if it includes an explanation of why you believe you should not have been issued the notice. If you have evidence to support what you say, include it with your application.

It is important that you supply as much information as possible to support your claim. We will make our review decision on the evidence you provide at the time of your application. The information you provide should support the specific points you raise in your application. Read more

When is a review application likely to succeed?

We will revoke the notice if you can show that the employer duties don’t apply to you, that you did actually comply on time, or that you had a reasonable excuse for failing to comply.

Who doesn’t have employer duties?

Employer duties won’t apply if:

  • you have ceased trading
  • you are a sole trader or partnership without any staff working for you
  • you are a one-person company
  • your company has no staff other than the directors, and no more than one director has an employment contract

What happens next

We will check your application and decide whether to carry out a review. If we decide not to, we will write to you explaining why.

If we decide to carry out a review, we will look at the information you gave us and do one of the following with the notice:

  • confirm it – the notice is upheld, and if there is a fine you still have to pay it
  • revoke it – the notice is overturned, and you do not have to pay any fine
  • vary it – the notice is changed, eg by extending the deadline for compliance or payment
  • substitute it – the notice is replaced with a different one, which you must then comply with

What if I don’t agree with the review decision?

If you don’t agree with the decision (including a decision not to carry out a review) you can appeal to the General Regulatory Chamber of the First-tier Tribunal. This is an independent tribunal separate from The Pensions Regulator. You can only appeal to the tribunal against the following notices:

  • a fixed penalty notice
  • an escalating penalty notice
  • a prohibited recruitment conduct penalty notice.

The tribunal has said that they will not accept an appeal if you applied for a review outside the 28 day time limit, and we decided not to carry one out.

Find out how to appeal to the tribunal.