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HMRC internal manual

Claimant Compliance Manual

Post-award examinations: Action: Overview

Potential post-award examinations will be sent to the manager who then allocates them to a Compliance Officer. In some cases an enquiry can be opened alongside the examination. The details are entered on the TCW or CCMIS.

Where you are opening a joint enquiry/examination refer to the guidance updates for 16 September 2011 for clarification.

There are two steps to be considered. The first step is to decide if the risks are all discrepancy risks - see CCM17020. These risks are those where HMRC hold data which differs to that on the claim. For example the declared income differs to that on the P14 or SA return. You need to compare the risks identified with those listed at CCM17020.

Note: If the risk is income you should be aware that some employers are adding Benefits in Kind to the total taxable pay shown on the P60. If there is a discrepancy between the income figure shown on PAYE system and the claim form you must check with the employer to establish if the Benefits in Kind have been included on the P60. See TCM0118220 for Benefits in Kind that are excluded for Tax Credit purposes. If the P60 includes any of the Benefits in Kind listed deduct them from the P60 income figure.

  • If the risks are all discrepancy risks - follow the guidance in Chapter 17.
  • If the case is a disability mismatch - follow the relevant guidance
  • If the risks are not all discrepancy risks continue as shown below.

The next step is to decide whether a penalty might be appropriate, see CCM4410 

  • if a penalty might be appropriate - see CCM4815 
  • if a penalty is not appropriate you will continue as shown below.

You need to send the customer a letter, see CCM4415. This formally opens your examination and/or joint enquiry and asks the customer to provide information or evidence to help you consider their claim.

You then need to consider any response:

  • if the customer provides the information you asked for, you will make a decision to either

    • Take no further action- see CCM4425.
    • Adjust the award - see CCM4430.
    • Extend the scope of your examination - see CCM4435.

If the customer does not reply within the time you gave them you send a further request and if they still do not reply you will suspend the award. If they still do not supply the information you will terminate the award.

Once you have made your decision:

  • you should write to the customer explaining your decision and issue any notice setting out your decision and telling them your examination is now closed. The customer has a right to appeal against your decision.

If the customer appeals you will need to consider whether you can revise your decision to settle the appeal by agreement, see CCM4445. If you cannot revise your decision then the case may need to be heard by the Appeals Tribunal. There is no right of appeal against the suspension of an award.