Opening and Working Enquiries: Examples of The Enquiry Window Closing
The following give examples of the enquiry window closing.
Example 1 (Enquiry window - more than 12 months)
Fozia and Jack have two children. Fozia is a full time mother, and Jack works in a restaurant as a chef. His income is relatively low, so the couple are entitled to claim both WTC and CTC for 2007/08. The S17 notice asks the couple to respond by 31 July 2008, with a warning that if they do not meet that deadline their provisional payments for 2008/09 will cease from that date. They report Jack’s actual income for 2007/08 on 15 June 2008. Because the final figure of income has been reported, a final decision can be made, and the decision notice is issued on 17 July. The enquiry window opens on 18 July 2008 (the day after the final decision is made), and will close on 31 July 2009 (one year after the first specified date).
Example 2 (Enquiry window - more than 12 months)
Graham and Jing have three children, and they both work in low paid jobs, claiming CTC and WTC for 2007/08. The S17 notice asks the couple to respond by 31 July 2008, with a warning that if they do not respond by then their provisional payments for 2008/09 will cease from that date. Graham is able to state his actual income for the year by 31 July 2008, but Jing’s employer is very late in letting her have her P60, so she only has an estimated figure of her income for 2007/08. The couple provide a figure of joint income on 15 July 2008 but, because it includes an estimate of Jing’s income, the S18 decision made on 7 August 2008 is an interim one. The couple are reminded that they must report the final figure by the second specified date of 31 January 2009. Note that the enquiry window has not opened at this point. Jing finally receives her P60 on 29 July 2008, and the couple report their actual joint income figure on 20 August 2008. The final decision is made on 29 August 2008. The enquiry window opens on 30 August 2008 and will close on 31 January 2010 – one year after the second specified date of 31 January2009.
If Graham and Jing discovered they had made a mistake in the statement they made on 20 August 2008, they could send in a revised statement, as long as they did so by 31 January 2009. A revised final decision could be made, but this would not affect the date on which the enquiry window had opened, which would remain 30 August 2008.
If the couple did not report Jing’s actual income for 2007/08 until 31 January 2009, and the final decision was not made until 15 February 2009, the enquiry window would not open until 16 February 2009. But it would still close on 31 January 2010.
Example 3 (Enquiry window - less than 12 months)
Arthur and Wanda are awarded CTC and WTC for 2007/08. Arthur is a self employed book-keeper, and Wanda cares for their children full time. They respond to the S17 notice on 2 May 2008 with estimated details of Arthur’s income. Arthur provides his actual income figure for 2007/08 on 30 January 2009. The processing office needs to ask the couple to clarify some figures which are impossible to read before they can issue the final decision notice. They try to contact the family by phone, but there is no reply, so they put their queries in writing. It is 1 March 2009 before the outstanding points are sorted out and the final decision made. The TC enquiry window opens on 2 March 2009, but it will still close on 31 January 2010.
Example 4 (no enquiry window)
Paul is a waiter but is a SA taxpayer because he also receives rental income. He submits his 2007/08 tax return on 1 May 2008 and an SA enquiry is opened on 2 June 2008. This is settled very quickly and a SA closure notice is issued on 7 July 2008. On 17 July 2008 Paul submits his S17 notice in support of his TC claim for 2007/08, it shows his actual income and a final Section 18 decision is made on 24 July 2008.
The TC enquiry window opens on 25 July 2008 but it closed on 7 July 2008 (the day the SA return becomes final). This is earlier than 25 July 2008 which means there is no TC enquiry window. A S19 enquiry cannot be opened under any circumstances. The only way in which we can possibly challenge the 2007/08 TC award is using the discovery provisions at S20 TCA 2002 – see CCM Chapter 13 (CCM13000).