Although more commonly referred to as a ‘full’ or ‘aspect’ enquiry, depending on the level of detail requested by HMRC, by far the most common type of enquiry into an individual’s tax return is initiated by HMRC under section 9A of the Taxes Management Act 1970 (TMA 1970). HMRC must give you written notice of their intention to enquire into your tax return within 12 months of submission of your return.
Under section 9A HMRC can enquire into an individual’s tax return for any reason, however, following the introduction of their computer system (Connect) in recent years, most enquiries are now selected according to risk. Connect is HMRC’s system that receives information from many different sources (such as the Land Registry, Companies House and the benefits system) and agrees these to the information they hold about your tax return. Therefore, it is likely that HMRC already suspect that there is an issue with a tax return.
If you receive a letter advising that HMRC are intending to look through your affairs you should consider carefully how to respond because if there is an error, this can affect the penalty that may be payable. The letter may give some clue as to what HMRC’s concerns are in relation to your tax affairs, perhaps asking for details of your bank interest, or a capital gain. Although it is not unusual for the letter to ask for a great deal of business and personal information, which can mean that the focus of the enquiry is unclear.
Our team has many years of experience in this area and includes ex-HMRC staff who can help you to respond and manage your enquiry, ensuring the very best outcome and if there are penalties, that you receive full mitigation.