Discovery Assessments (s29 TMA 1970)

Discovery Assessments under s29 Taxes Management Act 1970 (TMA 1970) are a further way that HMRC can challenge a tax return.

It should be noted, however, that HMRC should not issue a Discovery Notice simply because they are out of time to enquire into an individual’s tax return under s9A TMA 1970.

There are certain conditions which must be satisfied and various deadlines which must be adhered to.  It is therefore important to understand that there are limits to their use and HMRC can occasionally raise discovery assessments when they are not entitled to do so.

Generally the time limits available to HMRC to open a discovery assessment are as follows:

  • 4 years after the end of the tax year for insufficient disclosure on a return;
  • 6 years after the end of the tax year for loss of tax brought about by carelessness; or
  • 20 years after the end of the tax year if the loss of tax arose by a deliberate error.

Our team has dealt with many discovery notices and where necessary has challenged successfully the validity of the notice.  We can help you to manage the enquiry to ensure the very best outcome.  If you have received a discovery assessment, please call one of the team to discuss how we can help.

Contact our Specialist Tax team on 0808 144 5575 to discuss how we can help you.