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HMRC internal manual

Claimant Compliance Manual

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HM Revenue & Customs
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Opening and Working Enquiries: Single enquiry

S19(11) states you can only make one enquiry into a person’s (or couple’s) entitlement to tax credits for a year. Even if you complete your enquiry before the expiry of the time limit for opening an enquiry, it will not be possible to open another S19 enquiry into the entitlement for that year (but see CCM12610 for the effect a taxpayer amendment to the SA return will have on the NTC enquiry window).

Where the enquiry window has closed or there has already been an enquiry which is now closed, you can only take action to revise the award for that year if you can make a discovery decision for that year (see CCM13000).

But note that, where a person has been awarded tax credits both as an individual and as a member of a couple (so that they appear in more than one entitlement unit), you can issue separate enquiry notices in respect of each entitlement unit.

Example

Ross appeared in 3 awards for 2003/2004 as follows:

6 April 2003 to 21 July 2003 – as an individual
22 July 2003 – 29 November 2003 – as a couple with Sue
30 November 2003 – 5 April 2004 – as a couple with Ellen.

You intend to open an enquiry because you have doubts about the number of hours Ross actually worked so you must issue enquiry notices to each of the 3 entitlement units asfollows:-

  • Ross as an individual
  • Ross and Sue
  • Ross and Ellen

For the second and third units you will have to issue notices to both members of the couple, ie. to Ross & Sue, and to Ross & Ellen. Although Ross will receive 3 enquiry notices, they will be in respect of 3 different entitlement units, and each entitlement unit would only receive an enquiry notice on a single occasion.

If you intend to open the enquiry because you have doubts about Sue’s earnings you will only need to open an enquiry into the element of Ross and Sue as a couple.