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HMRC internal manual

Claimant Compliance Manual

Discrepancy Enquiries: Action: Overview

Potential enquiries 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 CCM17810 
  • if a penalty is not appropriate you will continue as shown below

If the enquiry will cover more than one aspect of the claim, see CCM17420 before preparing your opening letter.

If you are working an income discrepancy enquiry and also have reasonable grounds for believing the PY-1 conclusive decision was incorrect, follow guidance in CCM13000.

If you are working an income discrepancy enquiry and do not consider the CY estimated income is appropriate, follow guidance in CCM6830.

You need to send the claimant a letter, see CCM17440. This formally opens your enquiry and explains to the claimant what aspect of their award you are checking and what information HMRC has. It tells them to get in touch if they do not agree the award should be amended.

Remember that there are strict time limits on when you can open an enquiry, see CCM17120.

You then need to consider the claimant’s response:

  • if the claimant agrees that they were wrong and that the information HMRC has is right, you will make a decision to amend the award based on that information, see CCM17470 
  • if the claimant 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 CCM17480. In some cases you may want to discuss this with your manager. Once you have considered what the claimant says you will again make a decision. You might decide that:

HMRC’s information is incorrect and that the award shouldn’t be amended see CCM17490 

HMRC’s information is incorrect but that you need to amend the award based on new information provided by the claimant, see CCM17500 

You are not satisfied with the claimant’s explanation and that HMRC’s information is correct and that the award should be amended based on that information, see CCM17510 

  • If the claimant doesn’t respond within the time you gave them, check that there isn’t a good reason for the delay, and if appropriate, given them a little longer. If there is still no response you will make a decision to amend the award based on HMRC’s information, see CCM17530 
  • If the claimant gives you other information that makes you think that other aspects of their award might be incorrect, discuss the case with your manager to see whether it is more appropriate to open a full enquiry, see CCM17520.

Once you have made your decision you should write to the claimant explaining your decision and telling them that the enquiry is closed.

If the claimant appeals against your decision to amend their award, check whether they previously agreed that HMRC’s information was correct. If the claimant previously agreed that HMRC’s information was correct and the claimant has not provided new information write to them reminding them of their previous agreement and invite them to withdraw their appeal, see CCM17540. In all other cases consider whether you can revise your decision to settle the appeal by agreement, see CCM17550. If you cannot revise your decision then the case may need to be heard by the independent Appeals Tribunal. 

Once you have established the facts you must always settle your enquiry in writing, even if the claimant(s) has agreed to the adjustment on the phone.