HMRC internal manual

Claimant Compliance Manual

Enquiries: Action: Overview

You should check the other guidance available on GOV.UK from HMRC as Brexit updates to those pages are being prioritised before manuals.

Potential enquiries will be sent to the manager who then allocates them to a Compliance Officer. The details are entered on TCW or CCMIS.

Before you open an enquiry there are a number of preliminary checks that must be made on each case - see CCM16220. All of the checks must be satisfactory before moving on to the next step.

The next step is to decide whether a penalty might be appropriate, see CCM16230

  • if a penalty might be appropriate - see CCM16520
  • if a penalty is not appropriate you will continue as shown below.

You need to send the claimant a letter, see CCM16240. This formally opens your enquiry and asks the claimant to provide information or evidence to help you consider their claim.

You then need to consider any response:

  • if the claimant provides the information you asked for, you will make a decision to either:

    • Take no further action- see CCM16270 or
    • Adjust the award - see CCM16280
  • If the claimant doesn’t respond within the time you gave them, you will make a decision as to whether or not to adjust the award - see CCM16310.

If an adjustment is needed to the award you will also need to consider what action to take for the following year and any previous years.

If you are aware that the customer has applied for a disability benefit and this may have an impact for the enquiry year, you should delay the settlement of your enquiry until the customer has received a decision on entitlement from DWP. This is because they may be entitled to backdating of the disability/severe disability element of tax credits to the point the DWP awarded it from and once we have closed their S19 enquiry we cannot make further amendments for the year.

For a full explanation on how the award of a disability benefit affects their tax credit award you will need to consider the customer’s individual circumstances and refer to guidance in the Tax Credits Technical Manual, see TCTM05310 for WTC and TCTM05320 for CTC.

Once you have made your decision:

  • you should write to the claimant explaining your decision and issue any notice setting out your decision and telling them your enquiry is now closed. The claimant has a right to appeal against your decision.

If the claimant appeals you will need to consider whether you can revise your decision to settle the appeal by agreement, see CCM16330. If you cannot revise your decision then the case may need to be heard by the Appeals Tribunal.