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HMRC internal manual

Claimant Compliance Manual

Examinations: Information: Pre-award and post-award examinations

Examinations can be carried out either pre or post-award. Pre-award examinations will be selected by risk teams from their review of the most serious cases identified by the automated risk assessment.

The approach to working pre and post-award 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 and there are also differences at the closing stage. For example, for a pre-award examination we have not yet made an initial decision on entitlement so even if you eventually accept the claim as made, you will still have to make the initial decision. For this reason, you must make sure you identify which types of examinations you are working in every case and follow the guidance specific to that type.

Pre-award examinations are carried out pre-payment, i.e. before the claimant receives any money. Avoiding HMRC delay is therefore particularly important in pre-award examinations.