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HMRC internal manual

Claimant Compliance Manual

Opening and Working Enquiries: Completion applications - following Revenue delay

If the customer(s) has provided all the information you requested but has not heard from you, they may apply for a direction that you must complete your enquiry. In these circumstances customers will naturally expect to receive a substantive response (i.e. more than simply an acknowledgement) from the Revenue within a reasonable time scale. If there is Revenue delay, the customer(s) may try to force a response by applying for a direction. It is therefore very important for you to avoid any unreasonable delay in dealing with the information the customer(s) has supplied because it is more likely that the tribunal will give a direction in these circumstances. What constitutes unreasonable delay will depend on the amount of the information and how complex it is.

If the customer(s) applies for a direction that the enquiry should be completed, and you have not yet considered the information provided, it should be possible for you to do so before the application is referred to the tribunal. In most cases it will take some time for the application to be referred to the tribunal. You should wherever possible consider the information the customer(s) has provided before the case is referred to the tribunal. It is particularly important that you do this, because a proper consideration of the information may enable you to draw some conclusions about the customer’s entitlement and the amount of their award. If the tribunal does direct you to complete your enquiry immediately you will then be able to present these conclusions to the customer(s) when you inform them of the outcome of your enquiry. If you have not by this stage considered the information you may have no option but to decide that the entitlement and the amount of the award were correct.

If you have not been able to consider the information before the date of the tribunal meeting, you may still be able to do so after the meeting and before you make your enquiry decision. However, you will not be able to ask for any more information. If you have been unable to consider the information up to this point it is perhaps unlikely that you will be able to now within the 30 day time scale. But you should make every effort to do so, or you will have wasted the opportunity of establishing whether the entitlement and the amount of the award were correct.

See CCM12390 for guidance on referring the case to the tribunal.