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HMRC internal manual

Claimant Compliance Manual

Examinations: Examinations following a change of circumstances: Opening letter where there is no penalty

These cases will be allocated to a Compliance Officer by the manager. The details are entered on TCW or CCMIS.

The first step is to decide if a penalty might be appropriate - see CCM4360.

If a penalty might be appropriate - see CCM4760 

If a penalty is not appropriate continue as shown below.

When contacting the customer(s) to open the examination it must always be in writing. Where the customer has notified a change of circumstances and it has not yet been actioned, you must use the standard letter template letter TCC71.

The letter formally opens the examination and asks the customer to provide more information about their change of circumstances, see CCM4220. The letter also tells the customer they will not receive any additional payments until they provide the information.

You should always state the date by which the customer should get back to you and allow at least [30] days. For example, if you wrote on 06/08/08, you would specify 05/09/08 for a response. If you are aware that postal delays are likely, for example there is a strike or it is close to Christmas, allow a few extra days. Also allow a longer time if you know for example the customer is abroad or incapacitated and it means they will not be able to reply within [30] days.

Where the claim has been made by a couple in a joint household, only one opening letter should be sent addressed to both customers even if the query only relates to one of the 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.

Your next action will depend on any response to the opening letter. If the customer:

If the customer phones you to discuss your letter make full notes of everything they say and keep a record in your papers. If the customer has fully answered your queries over the phone they do not need to reply in writing and you should see CCM4370.