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HMRC internal manual

Claimant Compliance Manual

Enquiries: Action: Claimant does not respond to opening letter

If the claimant does not respond to your opening letter by the date specified, you should:

  • check to see if the information has been received in your office, but not yet passed to you
  • consider whether there may be any exceptional circumstances preventing the claimant from replying, for example a postal dispute.

Where appropriate you should contact the claimant(s) by phone to remind them of the need to deal with your query. If you think there is a problem you can allow a further week or exceptionally more than this with your manager’s agreement.

If the opening letter has been returned RLS - see CCM16250.

In all other cases if you are satisfied the claimant(s) has been given every opportunity to supply the information you will have 3 options:-

  • take no further action
  • amend the award
  • make a formal request for the information and then if appropriate see (b) below.

A failure to reply to your opening letter is not, in itself, grounds for amending the award. You must consider the risk and the evidence held. Where the risk is an Undisclosed Partner - see CCM15370. In other risks your options are then:-

  1. Amend the award - where the evidence is strong enough to support revising the award continue as shown below.
  2. Formal request for information - where there is not enough evidence to support the revising award but you and your manager do not believe this should lead to no further action you will need to make a formal request for the information. Where you need to follow this route - see CCM5090.
  3. If, exceptionally, on review you consider the case to have been wrongly selected for enquiry and that the risks of an incorrect award are minimal you should refer to your manager. If your manager agrees your analysis the enquiry should be closed as shown in CCM16270. However, you should remember that once you have closed an enquiry it cannot be re-opened if further information comes to light.