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HMRC internal manual

Claimant Compliance Manual

Discrepancy Examinations: Action: Customer does not respond to opening letter

If the customer 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 customer from replying, for example a postal dispute.

Where appropriate you should contact the customer (or customers) 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 there is not a good reason for the delay or the customer still does not respond after allowing more time, you will make a decision revising their claim or award, using HMRC’s information to determine the award.

You must write to the customer (or customers) to let them know about your decision. You should always write to them even if you have spoken to them and explained the position on the phone.

You should use the standard letter template TCC80 for pre-award cases or TCC60 for post-award cases. The letter tells the customer that you will be revising their claim or award and they will soon receive a formal decision notice. In post award cases it also explains what will happen about recovering any overpaid tax credits.

Where the claim has been made by a couple in a joint household, only one letter should be sent addressed to both customers. When sending out joint letters the customers must still be part of a couple and residing at the same address. If they are part of a couple but residing at different addresses or no longer part of a couple, then a separate letter must still be sent to each customer.

If the customer has authorised an agent to act for them remember to send a copy of the letter to the agent.

You should take the necessary system action to amend the claim or award as soon as possible after you send the letter and close the case on TCW on the same day you amend and process the claim or amend the award. The system will send out a new decision notice. The customer then has 30 days to appeal against your decision.

If the customer appeals, see CCM17395.

If the customer does not appeal you can close the case.