Discrepancy Examinations: Penalty Cases: 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.
If you think there is a problem you can allow a further week or exceptionally more than this with your manager’s agreement. In these cases you should contact the claimant(s) by phone to remind them of the need to deal with your query.
If there is not a good reason for the delay or the claimant still does not respond after allowing more time, you will make a S14 decision for pre-award cases revising their claim and processing their award or a S16 decision for post-award cases revising their award, using HMRC’s information to determine the award.
You will then calculate the penalty. CCM chapter 10 gives detailed guidance on how to calculate the penalty. Once you have calculated the amount you should show the amount of the penalty on form 94NTC
You must write to the claimant(s) 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 TCC81 for pre-award cases or TCC61 for post-award cases. The letter tells the claimant that you will be revising their claim or award and they will soon receive a formal decision notice. It also explains what will happen about recovering any overpaid tax credits and tells them we will be charging a penalty.
If the claimant has authorised an agent to act for them remember to send a copy of the letter to the agent.
Once you have issued the letter you must amend the claim or award, see CCOM20115 for pre-award cases or CCOM21210 for post-award cases. The system will send out a new decision notice. The claimant then has 30 days to appeal against your decision so BF your papers for 30 days.
- If the claimant appeals, see CCM17750