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HMRC internal manual

Claimant Compliance Manual

Enquiries: Information: How do I work an Enquiry?

In general terms examinations and enquiries are worked in similar ways.

  • you will send the claimant a letter opening your enquiry or examination and ask them for more information
  • you will then consider any response and make a decision about their award.
  • you will send them a letter explaining this decision and take the necessary follow-up action. The claimant has the right to appeal to the Independent Appeals Tribunal against your decision.

Before you begin to work enquiries you should make sure you are familiar with all of the points shown above.

However, there are some major differences between examinations and enquiries.

  • The legislation allows us to open an enquiry even if there are no obvious or disclosable risks. This allows us to open enquiries in a randomly selected case that forms part of our Error and Fraud Analysis Programme - see CCM12530.
  • We can only make one enquiry for each tax year so it is important we consider all risks - see CCM12015
  • The enquiry must be opened during a specific ‘enquiry window’ - see CCM16120
  • Enquiries must be opened in writing and it is not a valid enquiry until the enquiry notice has been received by the claimant or both of them if the claim was made by a couple. If the notice is returned RLS it is not a valid enquiry.
  • The claimant can ask an appeal tribunal to direct that we close the enquiry - see CCM16090
  • If the enquiry shows an adjustment is needed to the award there will usually be another year to consider.