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HMRC internal manual

Claimant Compliance Manual

HM Revenue & Customs
, see all updates

Child Benefit and Tax Credits: Opening The Enquiry - Tax Credits and Child Benefit at Risk

The guidance at CCM4000 onwards and CCM5000 onwards tells you how to open and work an examination both pre and post award.

The guidance at CCM12010 to CCM12690 tells you how to open and work an enquiry.

Child Benefit cannot be claimed jointly so only the opening letter referring to child benefit should be sent to the Child Benefit claimant. However the same information, in respect of the child/children should be requested from both tax credit claimants as you need it to consider the eligibility for tax credits.

You should always tell the claimant the date by which you expect them to have sent the details requested. You should use your judgement in deciding how much time to allow, taking into account the nature and volume of the information; but the period should never be shorter than 40 days. Always be specific: don’t ask for information “within 40 days”, but say “by 31 August 2004; by 15 December 2004, etc.”. This way the claimant will be left in no doubt, and you will be better able to track the progress of the case.

If the claimant does not respond with the information within the period you have set you will need to consider whether to use the available powers to press for the information.

You should use the standard letter templates at :

CCM21500 - post award

CCM21510 - post award including childcare

CCM21520 - pre-award

CCM21530 - pre-award including childcare

CCM21040 - TCC17 - Change of Circumstances

The text of these letters must not be varied.

You should enclose a copy of leaflet WTC/FS1 - Tax credits enquiry - or WTC/FS2 - Tax credits examination - as appropriate.