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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: Date The Enquiry Window Closes - SA customers

Where the customer, or either (or both) of the customers in a couple, is within self-assessment (SA) the enquiry window will close on the date on which the SA return becomes final. This will depend on the year involved.

(a) Years up to and including 2006/07

This will normally be the anniversary of the fixed filing date for the return which will normally be 31 January following the end of the year of assessment.

For example, the SA return for 2006/07 must be filed (submitted) by 31 January 2008. Unless a SA enquiry is opened or an amendment made by the taxpayer, the return becomes final on 31 January 2009. This is also the date on which the TC enquiry window closes. If a SA enquiry is opened this delays finality of the return whilst the enquiry continues, this would in turn delay the closing of the TC enquiry window. However, once a SA enquiry is closed it finalises the return and this in turn closes the TC enquiry window.

Example 1

Vijay submits his 2006/07 tax return on 20 October 2007 and at the same time reports his actual income for TC purposes having previously submitted an estimated figure. The TC enquiry window would normally close on 31 January 2009 (1 year after 31 January 2008).

An SA enquiry is opened on 1 December 2007 and is still ongoing at 31 January 2009. This stops the TC enquiry window closing. If the SA enquiry is finally closed on 23 November 2009 the TC enquiry window will have been open until that date. However, if the SA enquiry was resolved quickly and was closed on 3 February 2008 then the TC enquiry window also closes on that date. This means it closes almost a year earlier than normal.

(b) Years 2007/08 onwards

For SA tax returns covering 2007/2008 onwards the filing date depends on the method of filing. Paper returns must be filed by 31 October but e-forms can be filed up to and including 31 January.

In all cases the SA enquiry window closes one year after the date the return is filed. For example, the 2007/08 return is filed on 12 July 2008, the SA enquiry window closes on 12 July 2009. However, if the return was filed electronically on 30 January 2009, the SA enquiry window closes on 30 January 2010.

The tax credit enquiry window still closes on the date the SA return becomes final regardless of the date we make the final S18 decision.

Example 2

Kit submits his 2007/08 tax return on 1 July 2008 at the same time as he reports his actual income for tax credit purposes. The SA enquiry window closes on 1 July 2009 and so the TC enquiry window closes on the same day.

If an SA enquiry was opened on 13 May 2009, it stops the TC enquiry window closing until the SA enquiry is settled.

Example 3

Kerri submits her 2007/08 tax return on 1 May 2008 so the SA enquiry window will close on 1 May 2009. Kerri finalises her 2007/08 tax credit award on 19 April 2008 but supplies an estimate of her profits so she has until 31 January 2009 to supply the actual details. Kerri submits them on 30 January 2009 and we make the final S18 decision on 14 February 2009.

We cannot open an enquiry until 15 February (the day after the final decision) but the TC enquiry window will close on 1 May 2009 because it follows the SA enquiry window.

Further examples of the date the enquiry window closes are at CCM12080.

These examples demonstrate the need for close liaison between TC and SA enquiry teams where a tax credit customer (or either party of a couple) is also a SA taxpayer. More guidance regarding SA issues which might impact on a TC enquiry is at CCM12600.