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HMRC internal manual

Claimant Compliance Manual

HM Revenue & Customs
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Discrepancy Examinations: Action: Overview

The approach to working pre and post-award discrepancy examinations is very similar. But the statutory powers for carrying out the two types of examination are different in some important respects, particularly in the opening stages. For this reason, you must make sure you identify which type you are working in every case and follow the guidance specific to that type.

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

Your first step is to decide whether a penalty might be appropriate, see CCM17215 

  • if a penalty might be appropriate - see CCM17610 
  • if a penalty is not appropriate you will continue as shown below.

If the examination will cover more than one aspect of the claim or award, see CCM17220 before preparing your opening letter.

You need to send the customer a letter, see CCM17240. This formally opens your examination and explains to the customer what aspect of their award or claim you are checking and what information HMRC has. It tells them to get in touch if they do not agree the claim or award should be amended.

You then need to consider any response:

  • if the customer agrees that they were wrong and that the information HMRC has is right, you will make a decision to amend the award or claim based on that information, see CCM17250 
  • if the customer says that they were not wrong and either claims that HMRC’s information is incorrect or provides other information, you need to think about what they have said, see CCM17260. In some cases you may want to discuss this with your manager. Once you have considered what the customer says you will again make a decision. You might decide that:

    • HMRC’s information is incorrect and that the claim or award shouldn’t be amended, see CCM17350 
    • HMRC’s information is incorrect but that you need to amend the claim or award based on new information provided by the customer, see CCM17360 
    • You are not satisfied with the customer’s explanation and that HMRC’s information is correct and that the award or claim should be amended based on that information, see CCM17370 
  • If the customer doesn’t respond within the time you gave them, you will make a decision to amend the claim or award or claim based on HMRC’s information, see CCM17380 

Once you have made your decision:

  • you should write to the customer explaining your decision and telling them your examination is now closed.

If the customer appeals against your decision to amend their claim or award, check whether they previously agreed that HMRC’s information was correct. If the customer previously agreed that HMRC’s information was correct and the customer has not provided new information write to them reminding them of their previous agreement and invite them to withdraw their appeal, see CCM17390. In all other cases consider whether you can revise your decision to settle the appeal by agreement, see CCM17395. If you cannot revise your decision then the case may need to be heard by the Appeals Tribunal.