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HMRC internal manual

Claimant Compliance Manual

Post-award examinations: Action: Opening letter where there is no penalty

Potential post-award examinations and joint enquiry examinations will be sent to the manager who then allocates them to a Compliance Officer. The details are entered on TCW or CCMIS.

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 P14 or SA return.

  • If the risks are all discrepancy risks - see Chapter 17
  • If the risks are not all discrepancy risks continue as shown below.

The next step is to decide if a penalty might be appropriate - see CCM4410 

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

Your first contact with the customer(s) to open the examination/enquiry must always be in writing.

Use the SEES TCC2, or if it is a joint enquiry, use SEES TCC1130.

The letter formally opens the examination and/or enquiry and tells them what information you need, see CCM4220. You must enclose a copy of the WTC/FS2 fact sheet or if you are conducting a joint enquiry follow CCN 18/11 which explains the examination and/or enquiry process to the customer.

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 and a separate fact sheet must still be sent to each customer.

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 06/08/10, you would specify 05/09/10 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.

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 CCM4420.

  • If the customer requests more time to respond - see CCM4416