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HMRC internal manual

Claimant Compliance Manual

Opening and Working Enquiries: Formal enquiry information powers - general

All enquiry work is undertaken on the basis that customers should initially be given the opportunity to provide the information you need voluntarily. Your opening letter will have set out all the information you consider you need to decide whether the customer(s) were entitled to tax credits and, if so, how much they were entitled to. In many cases the customer(s) (and third parties where appropriate) will provide the information requested in the opening letter, and will continue to co-operate promptly with any further requests over the course of your enquiry.

You should carefully consider and evaluate any information that is provided so that you can come to an informed decision on the entitlement and the amount of the award. Chapter 14 of the CCM tells you how to close an enquiry once you have all of the information you need.

If customers do not provide the information voluntarily (or provide only some of it) by the date specified in your letter, or if there is no response from the customer(s) to your request for a meeting, you will need to decide how to proceed. You will need to consider whether to make a decision based on the information you hold or consider taking formal action to obtain the outstanding information. How you proceed will depend on the risks identified at the outset of your enquiry, the information held so far, the customer’s co-operation with the enquiry and whether formal action is likely to secure the missing information.

If you believe you have enough information to make an informed decision on entitlement then you can do so and Chapter 14 of the CCM tells you how to close the enquiry. However, you should not pursue this route purely to force the customer to make an appeal. The customer might not make an appeal but even if they do, the S19 closure decision will have brought your enquiry to an end. You can ask the customer to provide information in support of the appeal but you cannot recommence your enquiries. Also, unlike examinations there can only be one enquiry for each tax year so you must be careful not to close the enquiry prematurely.

If you decide to take formal action to secure the missing information see CCM12210-12275.