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HMRC internal manual

Claimant Compliance Manual

Opening and Working Enquiries: Enquiry Notice returned RLS - Considering the Current Year

To comply with Section 19 of the Tax Credits Act we have to issue an opening letter in all cases we are enquiring into.

Therefore if an Enquiry opening letter is returned as RLS, and we cannot obtain a new correct address then we can not continue to Enquire into the Previous Year.

If an opening letter is returned RLS you should attempt to contact the customer by telephone. You should try to contact them at least three times at different times of the day and taking into account their working hours.

If you are unable to obtain a new address and the risk that we are investigating only relates to the Previous Year then we cannot continue and the Enquiry should be closed and no further action taken.

However if the risk also exists in the Current Year then the payment should be suspended.

If following the suspension the customer contacts with a new address then, if the Enquiry window is still open the opening letter should be re-issued to the new address and the Enquiry should continue.

If there is no contact following the suspension then after 12 week the claim should be terminated from the date of the suspension.

If following the termination the customer contacts and wishes to appeal the decision, then a manual award notice should be issued to the new address. This is because until this point the customer has not received a decision notice against which to appeal. Once the manual decision notice is received then the customer should appeal in writing and normal appeal action taken.

After 5th April

If you have suspended an award and the 12 week b/f date falls after the 5 April then the decision to terminate cannot be made using S16. However as the RLS marker is present no S17 will be issued so we will be unable to make a decision under S18. Even if the customer provides a new address after 5 April we have no power to open a compliance check.

These cases will have to remain suspended and the case closed and settled as no yield - as we have made no decision on entitlement.